INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Feb. 4, 2002 - Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will drive a pair of Team Green-entered Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone cars in the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, team officials announced Feb. 4. The race will mark...
INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Feb. 4, 2002 - Paul Tracy and Dario Franchitti will drive a pair of Team Green-entered Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone cars in the 86th Indianapolis 500 on May 26, team officials announced Feb. 4.
The race will mark Franchitti's Indianapolis 500 debut while Tracy will return to the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for the first time since 1995.
"Team Green is delighted to be part of the Indianapolis 500 again in 2002," said Barry Green, founder/owner of Team Green. "We're proud, not only to give Dario the chance to make his Indy 500 debut but to bring Paul back for the first time in six years."
Team Green won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 with Jacques Villeneuve but did not compete in the race again until last year when Michael Andretti finished third in the team's only Indy Racing League appearance in 2001.
"Competing with all the IRL regulars at Indianapolis is certainly a challenge," Green said. "But as the saying goes, 'There's strength in numbers.' Dario, Paul and their crews have been working together since 1998 and have developed a very productive relationship in that time. I have every hope and expectation they'll be potential winners at Indianapolis this year."
The Team Green entries will be supported by the engineering and mechanical staffs associated with Franchitti's and Tracy's CART programs, including team manager Kyle Moyer, chief mechanics Eric Haverson and George Klotz, and race engineers Steve Challis and Allen McDonald. Team Green consultant John Anderson will oversee the organization and coordination of the Indianapolis 500 program. Support for the cars of Franchitti and Tracy comes from Brown & Williamson Tobacco and Klein Tools.
"The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, and we're excited about the opportunity for Brown & Williamson Tobacco to be associated with it and to share the experience with some of our key business partners," said Steve Kottak, manager of corporate communications.
This will be Tracy's fifth Indianapolis 500, and although he has failed to finish in each of his previous starts, he is eagerly anticipating his return to the Brickyard.
"It'll be great to get back to the Indy 500," he said. "I've never had much luck there, but I plan on doing everything I can to change that this time. It's the greatest race in the world, and I want to win it."
In contrast, Franchitti will be a rookie at Indianapolis. Although he has plenty of speedway experience, including a second place in the 2001 Michigan 500, he is well aware the Indianapolis 500 is a unique experience.
"When I came to race in America, one of my goals was to race in and, of course, win the Indianapolis 500," said Franchitti, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland. "Believe me, with Jimmy Clark winning the race in 1965 and Jackie Stewart earning Rookie of the Year, Indianapolis holds a special place in Scottish motor racing history. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway commands enormous respect, and I know my first Indy 500 will be a unique experience, but I intend to add to Scotland's record at the Speedway."
Team Green plans two Indy Racing League car test outings for Tracy and Franchitti before practice begins for the Indianapolis 500 on May 5.