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Abel Motorsports "pulling plug" on 2024 Indy 500 effort due to lack of funding

A lack of sponsorship funding has ended the chances for Abel Motorsports to contend at the running of the 2024 Indianapolis 500.

RC Enerson, Abel Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

Abel Motorsports was up against the clock to be the 35th entrant in the 108th edition of the Indy 500, with Friday marking the deadline.

Despite its best efforts, team manager John Brunner confirmed to Autosport his squad will not be among the participants.

"We're out," Brunner said. "We're pulling the plug."

Brunner also noted there would be no exemptions.

"We are absolutely done," Brunner said. "I stretched Chevrolet out longer than they wanted.

"They've been awesome through this whole thing. They've been so supportive all the way from the time that we ended last year up until this morning. Rob Buckner (Chevrolet's IndyCar programme manager) and Chevrolet have been nothing but awesome.

"'Whatever you guys need, we're here. You got our support.' I'd already put them, I'm sure, past their deadline and they were just standing there right with me saying, 'Let me know.' It is over as of this morning. I notified Chevrolet this morning at nine o'clock."

Abel Motorsports qualified for its maiden Indy 500 last year, R.C. Enerson behind the wheel of the #50 Chevrolet.

RC Enerson, Abel Motorsports Chevrolet

RC Enerson, Abel Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Gavin Baker / Motorsport Images

Even with a repeat now off the table, the team remains in good spirits. The group is now locked into its presence in Indy NXT, where it is fielding multiple entries that include title contender Jacob Abel, son of team owner Bill Abel.

"Our focus is Indy NXT trying to win this championship with Jacob," Brunner said. "We just need to look at it towards the end of the season where we're at with that."

Brunner was quick to note the team could look at contesting some IndyCar races later in the season.

"Depending on what's happening there, will we consider doing something late in the year with Jacob as the driver? Yeah, we're going to look at it," Brunner said.

Last year's Indy 500 car is owned by Neil Enerson, which means Abel would be driving a second chassis that was ordered from Dallara last October and finally delivered on 8 April and featured three pages listing various shortages.

With that, though, Abel Motorsports will continue to take the necessary steps to press forward.

"There's a lot of hard work that's put into this," Brunner said.

"We're not stopping what we're doing. I want the cars prepared and ready, so we're going to continue to get that car ready. We've got some new pit equipment, primarily the engineering stand, that was bare when we bought it and we're getting all the electronics in it.

"Most of that's already done, to be honest. But told the engineers I want that stand complete. I want it turnkey, I want to know that if I said, 'Hey, we're going to go to a race next week' that the engineering stand is ready to go.

"I want everything prepared. Even though we are not going to do this, we are going to get our car finished properly."

John Brunner, Abel Motorsports Chevrolet

John Brunner, Abel Motorsports Chevrolet

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Reflecting on how everything has unfolded to this point, Brunner noted how forgoing the Indy 500 helped ease some of the workload.

"It was a little bit of relief, to be honest, on some of the crew guys because if we were going to try to make this happen with the Abel car, we had a whole lot of work to do," Brunner said.

"We weren't going to cut corners. But obviously, not having this time crutch, we're just slowing up on the car a little bit. We got time and want to make sure everything's absolutely correct on this car; all the way from the body fit to every component basically.

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"We still have a bit of a back-order list from Dallara, which is my problem with running the Abel car. There's no way we can prepare this car properly with the shortage list that we have.

"The Neil Enerson-owned car, I'd be way comfortable taking that car right back to the Speedway. It's a great car. The updates are done on that car and that car is ready to go to the Speedway.

"We just don't have the backing to put the car on track. We're just missing the funding side of it. It's a tough business."

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