CHAMPCAR/CART: Dario Franchitti gets green light

INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2000) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti has been cleared by Championship Auto Racing Teams' director of medical affairs, Dr. Steve Olvey, to begin testing in preparation for the opening round of the 2000 CART FedEx ...

INDIANAPOLIS (March 13, 2000) - Team KOOL Green's Dario Franchitti has been cleared by Championship Auto Racing Teams' director of medical affairs, Dr. Steve Olvey, to begin testing in preparation for the opening round of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26. Franchitti, who suffered a fractured pelvis and brain contusions in a crash at Homestead on February 9, was given the go-ahead after undergoing a series of tests in Miami on Friday.

"Dario passed all the neurological and psychiatric tests and an MRI of the brain," said Dr. Olvey. "They were all normal. He is clear to test at the team's discretion.

"Dario clearly used the time off to his advantage. He looks great, he has a great attitude and his upper body strength is excellent. As long as he feels comfortable and confident in the car, I would expect him to race in the season-opener at Homestead."

"Dr. Olvey said everything's cool," said Dario, "and I'm really looking forward to getting back in the car and rejoining my team. I told them I didn't want anybody else in my seat. That's my car.

"I also want to thank all my friends and fans for their support and encouragement. They've been a big help to me."

Franchitti flew to Europe on Friday afternoon and plans to spend the next week with trainer Tony Matthis undergoing physical and leg strengthening conditioning. He is scheduled to return to the United States later this week and, depending on weather conditions, will test the Team KOOL Green Honda-Reynard at Nazareth Speedway or at Homestead. The test will be conducted under the supervision of Dr. Terry Trammell and will be a closed session. Following the test, Franchitti and Team KOOL Green will make a final decision regarding his participation in the Homestead race.

"This is great news," said Barry Green, owner of Team KOOL Green. "Most importantly, on a personal level we're very pleased that Dario has recovered from some pretty serious injuries. Of course, this is also great news for our team, for CART and the FedEx Championship. Many people, including ourselves, expect Dario to be a leading contender for the 2000 FedEx Championship and it looks as though he'll be there right from the start."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Barry Green