Franchitti Joins Klein Tools/Jim Beam Team for 2006 IndyCar Series Season
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 20, 2005) - Dario Franchitti will join the championship-winning Klein Tools/Jim Beam team as part of Andretti Green Racing's four-car effort for the 2006 Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series season. Franchitti will pilot the #27 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Honda-powered Dallara in an attempt to claim the third-consecutive IndyCar Series championship for Andretti Green Racing.
Franchitti is coming off a 2005 season where he finished fourth in the IndyCar Series championship. He was one of three drivers to win two races in 2005 bringing his IndyCar Series career total to four wins, tying him for the 10th-most wins in history. In the final race of the 2005 season, Franchitti qualified on the pole and led 68 laps to record his first win on a 2-mile oval. Franchitti's three other career wins have all come on tracks that are 1.33 miles or smaller.
During his open-wheel racing career, Franchitti has recorded 14 victories and 13 pole positions. He has started the Indianapolis 500 three times with his best finish of sixth coming in 2005. Franchitti will join 2004 IndyCar Series champion Tony Kanaan, two-time IndyCar Series winner Bryan Herta and third-generation driver Marco Andretti in the Andretti Green Racing stable. For the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 28, 2006, the quartet of drivers will be joined by team owner Michael Andretti, as they attempt to win consecutive Indianapolis 500-mile races for Andretti Green Racing. It will also mark the first time since 1994, when Mario Andretti drove his final Indianapolis 500, that a father and son will compete in The Greatest Spectacle in Racing®."
The 2006 IndyCar Series schedule begins Sunday, March 26, at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 14-race schedule features 11 oval tracks, two permanent road courses and one temporary street course.
Dario Franchitti, #27 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone: "I'm very excited to be driving the Klein Tools/Jim Beam car in 2006; a car that has won the IndyCar Series championship. Both Klein Tools and Jim Beam have been a part of Andretti Green since the beginning and have shown tremendous dedication to our program. I'm looking forward to working with my new and old teammates, challenging them for the championship and putting Klein Tools and Jim Beam back into victory lane several times in 2006."
Richard T. Klein Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Klein Tools: "Klein Tools is looking forward to having Dario behind the wheel of our race car. We've been associated with Dario for a long time and have every reason to believe that he will be one of the favorites to win the IndyCar Series championship in 2006. Winning the championship last year was a great feeling; winning two in a row would be that much better."
Keith Neumann, Senior Brand Director, Jim Beam Brands Co.: "Not only is Dario a talented driver and a great competitor, he also shares many of the same values that Jim Beam bourbon and its consumers do. He has integrity and sincerity. He is motivated and passionate about his craft. These are all qualities upon which the Jim Beam brand is built."