Vasser, KV Racing shut down IndyCar team after 14 years

FILE - In this May 27, 2013, file photo, Tony Kanaan, of Brazil, center, poses with car owners Jimmy Vasser, left, and Kevin Kalkhoven during the tradition photo session for the winner of the Indianapolis 500 auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Former CART champion Jimmy Vasser has shut down his IndyCar team after 14 years and seven victories, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500. KV Racing Technology, owned by Australian businessman Kevin Kalkhoven and Vasser, announced the long-rumored move Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.(AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

Former CART champion Jimmy Vasser has shut down his IndyCar team after 14 years and seven victories, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500

INDIANAPOLIS — Former CART champion Jimmy Vasser has shut down his IndyCar team after 14 years and seven victories, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500.

KV Racing Technology, owned by Australian businessman Kevin Kalkhoven and Vasser, announced the long-rumored move Thursday. It's possible Vasser and the team's third partner, James Sullivan, will be involved in another effort for the Indy 500 in May.

The 72-year-old Kalkhoven is stepping down because "I feel I can no longer give the team the effort and support it and the team members deserve."

"I have really enjoyed my time in the series, helping with reunification and, of course, winning the greatest spectacle in racing — the Indianapolis 500," Kalkhoven said in a statement. "It is my firm belief that the series is on a major upswing under the leadership of Mark Miles and Jay Frye and has a bright future."

KV Racing sold its equipment to fellow team owner Ricardo Juncos, who plans to run in the IndyCar Series this season.

Vasser, the 1996 CART champion who joined the team as minority partner and driver at the end of its first year, thanked Kalkhoven for allowing him to team owner while still driving.

"I am very proud to have been a part of this team, and I will always cherish all the great people and drivers we worked side-by-side with to achieve our successes," Vasser added. "It has been a journey of many ups and downs, but I will always remember winning the 2013 Indy 500. IndyCar racing has been a part of my life for 25 years, it is in my soul, and it will be interesting to see where it takes me from here."

KV Racing won the Indy 500 with driver Tony Kanaan. The team raced with Sebastien Bourdais the last three years, winning four races, but it had not hired a driver for 2017, which fueled speculation that it was shuttering the operation.

The IndyCar season begins March 12 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org

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