George Foreman Joins Panther Racing as Team Owner Boxing Legend Makes Return to Professional Sports With Two-Time League Champions INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 22, 2007) -- Two-time IndyCar Series Champions Panther Racing announced today that ...
George Foreman Joins Panther Racing as Team Owner
Boxing Legend Makes Return to Professional Sports With Two-Time League Champions
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 22, 2007) -- Two-time IndyCar Series Champions Panther Racing announced today that two-time heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman and his sons will become the team's newest co-owners. Foreman, a 1968 Olympic gold medalist and an ordained minister, is making his first return to professional sports since he retired from boxing in 1997.
"This is a very special day for Panther Racing," team owner John Barnes said. "To add a true professional and sports legend like George Foreman to our ownership group is a tremendous boost to our team. George brings with him experience from decades in professional sports and the business savvy to help our team's sponsorship efforts. His passion for cultivating successful business opportunities is as strong as his career in the boxing ring. The Panther Racing franchise just got a lot stronger."
"I've been blessed throughout my life to partner with winning organizations. Now that I am part of Panther Racing, I am looking forward to being part of a winning team. Much like the Foreman name, Panther Racing is an institution in sports and I'm proud to be a partner in their world-class Indy team," said George Foreman. "As a race fan I've admired Panther not only for their passion for racing, but also their business acumen on and off the track."
"Our involvement with Panther Racing offers a tremendous opportunity to bring together two championship brands and cross-promote two sports powerhouses across a diverse fan base," added George Foreman Jr, the boxing legend's eldest son.
"From our first meeting, I've been impressed with John Barnes and the entire Panther Racing organization. This is a very hard-working team that we admire," George Foreman III said.
"And as owners," continued Foreman III, "The Foreman Family is excited to team up with John Barnes and looking forward to building a championship Indy team, as well as helping to grow and diversify the business of the sport."
Panther has won 22 races and three championships in the IndyCar- and Indy Pro Series, making it one of the most successful teams in the history of the league. In addition to 15 race victories and IndyCar Series championships in 2001 and 2002, the team has collected seven wins and the 2003 championship in the developmental Indy Pro Series. The team is currently in preparations for the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500, where it will feature NASCAR driver John Andretti, who is making a one-race return to Indy-car racing, Kosuke Matsuura -- 2004 Rookie of the Year at Indianapolis -- and Vitor Meira, who finished second in the Indy 500 in 2005.
"All I could say was, 'Wow' when John (Barnes) told me who our newest team owner was," Meira said. "There are many common threads between Panther and George Foreman. Both of us our champions, both of us are committed to working hard in sports and in business, and now we are going to accomplish great things together."
The Foreman's join an ownership group that includes Barnes, who was the youngest Chief Mechanic in Indianapolis 500 history at 26, and former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, who is currently the head football coach of Stanford University.
George Jr. and brother George III serve as vice presidents of George Foreman Enterprises, the highly successful marketing company founded by their father, George Sr. They have also founded their own successful investment company, JR3, which has strategic investments in a diverse portfolio of industries including real estate, apparel, exercise equipment, sporting goods, financial services, entertainment, and music.
Panther Racing will compete in the 91st Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 27th, a race that will be broadcast live in HD on ABC, starting at noon (EST). Additional coverage will be provided by the IMS Radio Network and XM Satellite Radio channels 144 and 145.