Klein Tools Inc. and Jim Beam Brands Co. have renewed their sponsorship of the #26 Dallara/Honda/ Firestone IRL IndyCar TM Series entry, Andretti Green Racing officials announced October 29.

The two companies were co-primary sponsors of the #26 car driven by Dan Wheldon beginning with the 87th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race and throughout the remainder of the 2003 IRL IndyCarSeries season.

Wheldon scored five top-five finishes en route to winning the $50,000 Bombardier Rookie of the Year award.

"Klein Tools and Jim Beam are very valuable members of our team," said Michael Andretti, owner and CEO of Andretti Green Racing. "They are both very aggressive in the activation of their sponsorships. Whether it is the employee recognition and relationship development approach utilized by Klein Tools to activate superior quality products or the in-market promotions from Jim Beam, they do a tremendous job supporting our team."

Klein Tools has been involved in motorsports since 1994 when the company was an associate sponsor of Jacques Villeneuve, who finished second at Indianapolis that year and won the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and CART championship. Klein Tools was a sponsor of Team Green through 2002 and then moved into the role of co-major sponsor last season on Wheldon's car while continuing at the associate sponsor level on the other Andretti Green Racing cars.

"Klein Tools is excited to continue our partnership with Andretti Green Racing," said Chris Hargan, senior vice president of manufacturing and engineering for Klein Tools. "We've had a strong and effective partnership with the team for a long time and are looking forward to building upon our success moving into the future."

Jim Beam Brands Co. entered motorsports in 2002 when they partnered with Team Green and drivers Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for the 86th Indianapolis 500, and then continued throughout the season as an associate sponsor on both cars. In addition to its support of Wheldon's effort this past season, Jim Beam also served as an associate sponsor of Andretti Green Racing's other IndyCar Series entries.

"Jim Beam is thrilled to continue its partnership with a world-class organization like Andretti Green Racing next year," said Adam Dettman, brand manager for Jim Beam. "Michael Andretti is a legendary racer, Jim Beam is a legendary bourbon and drawing on the heritage of both is very powerful. We look forward to building on the momentum and progress the team has made throughout this year to make 2004 even more successful."

In addition to renewing Klein Tools and Jim Beam, AGR officials announced October 12 that 7-Eleven Inc. was returning as the sponsor of the team's #11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone.

The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 on February 29, 2004 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

 

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