CHAMPCAR/CART: Dario Franchitti Completes Nazareth Tests; Ready for Miamai

MIAMI (March 20, 2000) – CART FedEx Championship Series driver Dario Franchitti successfully completed two days of testing at Nazareth Speedway Sunday and Monday, and has been cleared to participate in the March 24-26 Marlboro Grand Prix of...

MIAMI (March 20, 2000) – CART FedEx Championship Series driver Dario Franchitti successfully completed two days of testing at Nazareth Speedway Sunday and Monday, and has been cleared to participate in the March 24-26 Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Franchitti, who suffered a fractured pelvis and brain contusions in a testing crash Feb. 9 during Spring Training at Homestead-Miami Speedway, showed no lingering effects from his injuries. His times compared favorably to the speeds turned by Team Kool Green teammate Paul Tracy, who joined him in the Nazareth session.

"I was a little rusty at first, but everything came back pretty quickly," said Franchitti, who finished second to Juan Pablo Montoya in the 1999 CART FedEx Championship after the pair ended the season tied in points. "We just took our time, didn’t put any pressure on ourselves to set lap records, and everything came together in its own time. Paul’s done a fantastic job shouldering the testing work for the last few weeks, and he gave me a car that was well balanced from the start.

"I feel fine," Franchitti continued. "I was a bit mentally tired last night but there’s no sign of vertigo and believe me, it’s really saying something if you can run around Nazareth at racing speeds without feeling dizzy! I’m just looking forward to getting on with it and racing in Miami."

Franchitti trained in Austria for five days, doing extensive running up stairs in addition to walking up mountains.

"My leg muscles are not 100% yet, but I think other than that, my body has been probably in the best shape it has ever been," Franchitti said. "I feel like I will be 100% for Miami. If you are comparing to last year, I think it will be higher than 100%"

Franchitti started seventh and finished third in last year’s Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota, leading 18 of the 150 laps. He won the races at Toronto, Detroit and Australia, but lost the championship to Montoya (who won seven races) after the pair tied with 212 points each.

On-track activities, including opening practice for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota, begin on Friday, March 24. Qualifying is set for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. Supporting events include a pair of Toyota Atlantic Championship races, and the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

Reserved grandstand seats for the Marlboro Grand Prix of Miami presented by Toyota are on sale by calling (305) 230-RACE. For additional information, visit the Speedway’s official web site, www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya