IndyCar team Dale Coyne Racing adds Jimmy Vasser, James Sullivan to ownership team
Dale Coyne Racing has just gotten stronger with the addition of former Verizon IndyCar Series team owners Jimmy Vasser and James “Sully” Sullivan joining Dale Coyne.
Vasser and Sullivan were both part of KVSH Racing that included former Champ Car Series boss Kevin Kalkhoven, but that team closed up following the 2016 season.
The newly formed team also announced that SealMaster will be the primary sponsor for nine of the 17 races, including the Indianapolis 500, for the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan Honda driven by Sebastien Bourdais.
“When Jimmy, Sully and I met to discuss creating this partnership, it was very enticing,” said Dale Coyne owner of Dale Coyne Racing, who will continue to run the No. 19 entry under the DCR banner. “They’ve had a lot of success in their previous years in IndyCar, and I’m thrilled to have them as partners. It’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down as we move forward with this program. The future is bright, and we’re excited to get the season going with SealMaster onboard as a co-primary sponsor. Hopefully we can continue the success Jimmy and Sulli have had and that we’ve had with Sebastien.”
After KVSH left the series when Kalkhoven stepped aside in 2016, Vasser and Sullivan had been looking for a way to form a new team. Instead, they have decided to partner with Coyne, a longtime independent team owner.
“First, I want to acknowledge Kevin Kalkhoven, who gave both Sully and myself the forum to be where we are today,” said Vasser, the 1996 CART champion as a driver. “After extensive talks, I am very pleased and proud to say that we will be continuing that legacy.
“I took a year off from competition for the first time in many years and realized how much I missed it. This is the next chapter in my racing career, so I want to say thank you to Sully, Dale, SealMaster, our sponsors and Sebastien. With their support, we are focused on re-creating our prior success and again challenging for wins in 2018.”
Vasser and Sullivan have achieved success in the past, including the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with driver Tony Kanaan and then won five more races over the next three years (2014-2016) with Bourdais behind the wheel.
“First, it’s great to be back,” Vasser-Sullivan co-owner Sullivan said. “We took a step back last year to evaluate and construct our next chapter, and both Jimmy and I, after many discussions with Dale, all came to the conclusion that this was the right time and opportunity to move this partnership forward.
“Most importantly, having SealMaster, a world-class brand, onboard to support the new team gives us big momentum out of the gate. With Sebastien (Bourdais) driving, the engineering staff and the crew that Dale has assembled, we are positioned for a banner year.”
Bourdais will be competing in his 13th IndyCar season, third with Dale Coyne Racing and first under Dale Coyne Racing with the Vasser-Sullivan banner. He is the only driver to win four consecutive IndyCar championships (2004-2007) tying him for second in all-time championships with Mario Andretti and Dario Franchitti. The 38-year-old from Le Mans, France, has made 171 career IndyCar starts, earning 36 wins (sixth all-time) and 33 poles (tied for seventh all-time).
“I want to thank Dale Coyne, Jimmy Vasser and Sulli for the opportunity to move forward with this program that’s been in the works for over a year,” Bourdais said. “Over the last few years, we’ve all captured poles and won races together. This is a team that started small, but what we needed, and now have collectively, is a consistent program, from top-to-bottom that can compete at the highest level and contend for a championship. I am very excited to get in this SealMaster car and represent such a great company.”