CHAMPCAR/CART: Dario Franchitti returns to the track in Nazarteth test

NAZARETH, Pa. (March 19, 2000) - Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti, sidelined since sustaining a fractured pelvis and brain contusions from a February 9 accident at Spring Training in Homestead, Fla., returned to the cockpit Sunday at ...

NAZARETH, Pa. (March 19, 2000) - Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti, sidelined since sustaining a fractured pelvis and brain contusions from a February 9 accident at Spring Training in Homestead, Fla., returned to the cockpit Sunday at Nazareth Speedway to begin evaluation of his status for Round One of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend.

Franchitti, runner-up in last season's Series title race, joined teammate Paul Tracy in the first of a two-day private test at the one-mile oval near Allentown, PA. Tracy, who has done all of Team KOOL Green's testing in the wake of Franchitti's accident, completed 150 laps of the track and posted a best time of 19.92s. Dario subsequently ran a total of 85 laps, turning a best time of 20.96s in the process, and said he felt comfortable in the car, despite the brisk 40-degree temperature.

"I feel great and it's so good to be back in the car," said Franchitti. "This is just the first step. Today, we wanted to make sure I had no problems with vertigo or discomfort in the cockpit. Tomorrow will be the key in determining whether I will be able to race at Homestead and begin aiming at the FedEx Championship Series title."

Dr. Terry Trammell, chief orthopedic consultant to Championship Auto Racing Teams, is in attendance at Nazareth. According to Dr. Trammell, today's test was an encouraging sign for Franchitti.

Following a more extensive private test session tomorrow, Franchitti and Team KOOL Green will make a final determination as to whether he will compete at Homestead.

"Tomorrow will tell us more about whether Dario's ready to run at Homestead," said Team KOOL Green owner Barry Green. "But, so far so good. In my opinion, Dario has made remarkable progress recovering from some very serious injuries. That's a testament to the fact that he keeps himself in great physical shape but, most of all, to his commitment and determination which, as we all know, are second to none."

Team KOOL Green will issue a statement regarding Franchitti's participation in the Homestead race following Monday's test.

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Contacts: Carol M. Wilkins, 317-872-2700 ext. 241 Ed Nicholls, 727-433-2481 Andrew Findlater, 416-979-1120 ext 229

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<HTML><HEAD> <STYLE></STYLE> </HEAD> <BODY bgColor=#ffffff> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>FRANCHITTI RETURNS TO TEAM KOOL GREEN COCKPIT</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV>NAZARETH, Pa. (March 19, 2000) – Team KOOL Green driver Dario Franchitti, sidelined since sustaining a fractured pelvis and brain contusions from a February 9 accident at Spring Training in Homestead, Fla., returned to the cockpit Sunday at Nazareth Speedway to begin evaluation of his status for Round One of the 2000 CART FedEx Championship Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend.</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV>Franchitti, runner-up in last season’s Series title race, joined teammate Paul Tracy in the first of a two-day private test at the one-mile oval near Allentown, PA. Tracy, who has done all of Team KOOL Green’s testing in the wake of Franchitti’s accident, completed 150 laps of the track and posted a best time of 19.92s. Dario subsequently ran a total of 85 laps, turning a best time of 20.96s in the process, and said he felt comfortable in the car, despite the brisk 40-degree temperature.</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>"I feel great and it’s so good to be back in the car," said Franchitti. "This is just the first step. Today, we wanted to make sure I had no problems with vertigo or discomfort in the cockpit. Tomorrow will be the key in determining whether I will be able to race at Homestead and begin aiming at the FedEx Championship Series title."</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Dr. Terry Trammell, chief orthopedic consultant to Championship Auto Racing Teams, is in attendance at Nazareth. According to Dr. Trammell, today’s test was an encouraging sign for Franchitti.</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Following a more extensive private test session tomorrow, Franchitti and Team KOOL Green will make a final determination as to whether he will compete at Homestead.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT> </DIV> <DIV>"Tomorrow will tell us more about whether Dario’s ready to run at Homestead," said Team KOOL Green owner Barry Green. "But, so far so good. In my opinion, Dario has made remarkable progress recovering from some very serious injuries. That’s a testament to the fact that he keeps himself in great physical shape but, most of all, to his commitment and determination which, as we all know, are second to none."</FONT></DIV> <DIV></FONT> </DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Team KOOL Green will issue a statement regarding Franchitti’s participation in the Homestead race following Monday’s test.</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2></FONT> </DIV> <DIV>-30-</FONT></DIV> <DIV> </DIV> <DIV>Contacts: Carol M. Wilkins, 317-872-2700 ext. 241</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Ed Nicholls, 727-433-2481</FONT></DIV> <DIV><FONT face=Arial size=2>Andrew Findlater, 416-979-1120 ext 229</FONT></DIV></BODY></HTML>

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Paul Tracy , Dario Franchitti , Barry Green