CHAMPCAR/CART: Arciero-Blair finishes fourth at Portland

Arciero-Blair Racing Driver Wilson, Finsihes Career Best At Portland - Finsihes Fourth. PORTLAND, Ore. (June 24, 2001) -- The FedEx Championship Series continued today in round eight of 21 events at Portland International Raceway. Arciero-Blair...

Arciero-Blair Racing Driver Wilson, Finsihes Career Best At Portland - Finsihes Fourth.

PORTLAND, Ore. (June 24, 2001) -- The FedEx Championship Series continued today in round eight of 21 events at Portland International Raceway. Arciero-Blair Racing driver Max Wilson finished fourth in the Freightliner/G.I. Joe's 200 Presented By Texaco.

Wilson, driving the Ford-powered number 25 WinnerB2B Lola, started 19th for the race that covered 192.962 miles. Wilson was only eight tenths of a second from the pole time and only five tenths of a second from the fifth starting position in field. The permanent road course has twelve turns and is 1.969-miles long. This is the first year of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) competition for the Brazilian driver.

The Northwest temperatures varied over the last few days, but rain was always forecast for the race. Wilson and the team posted a fourth best in Friday's first session and were also fast in the morning warm up. Confident and trying new things on the newly debuted Lola-Ford-Cosworth package, the team entered today's race hoping for good results.

Wilson brought the Arciero-Blair entry from 19th to 15th and steadily up the field throughout the many yellows and on-track incidents. By lap 15, this first year CART driver was in eighth. By lap 25 he had moved into sixth and on lap 40 was in third. The 28-year old driver listened to the team on the radio, staying calm and focused during the many yellows and many restarts. He remained in third until lap 70 and was passed by Fittipaldi who had better tires on his car at the end of the timed race. Wilson went on to finish fourth. Today's race was a personal best on a start and finish for Wilson and a team best for Arciero-Blair.

"It was great to finish fourth, almost a podium for Arciero-Blair and the whole team," said Wilson. " We got some points for our race family here. It was hard to hold off Fittipaldi at the end; I tried but lost my rear tires and almost went off the track. I am very pleased with this finish and scoring my first CART points. It was tough today as there were many crashes and the course was wet and dry at times. The rain made the cars the same level; we were good in the dry but the rain helped us and I like driving in the rain. I raced a lot in Europe in the rain and it helped. The key today was to keep the car on the track and try to pass some other cars. Thank to God we finished the race. The car was good in the wet and the team did a good pit stop. I did my best to keep the car on the track and finish fourth.

Our package with the Lola Ford is good, this is just our third race with Ford and we were able to score some points, the Arciero-Blair Team, Lola and Ford all have given me support. Having my Dad here from Brazil was great. He brought me some luck and I hope he brings more luck next week at Cleveland."

"I cannot express in words how I feel about how my son finished," said Wilson de Lima (Max's father). "This is a very special gift. So many people have helped him with this and believe in him."

"This is a hallmark to the achievement for the entire Arciero-Blair Team and Max Wilson" said Blair. "We did not give up during all of the changes we made in the last few weeks; it is a significant milestone on behalf of the entire team. I call this "Max Control" out there. There are many teams out on the track that are highly financed and have a lot more resources. This is a big tribute to our team and I am proud."

Following this race the FedEx Championship Series continues with its third event in as many weeks, the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by Firstar, June 29-July 1 at Burke Lakefront Airport. The race will air on the ABC Television Network, 1:00 p.m. ET. Check local listings. Today's race will also air on the CART Radio Network and on CART's official website, at www.cart.com.

-ABR-

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Wilson