CHAMPCAR/CART: Arciero/Blair announce new team

INDIANAPOLIS (May 23, 2001) -- Frank and Albert Arciero and Larry Blair announced today the formation of Arciero-Blair Racing. Additionally, co-owner Matthias Czabok was named the vice president of marketing and business development. The new ...

INDIANAPOLIS (May 23, 2001) -- Frank and Albert Arciero and Larry Blair announced today the formation of Arciero-Blair Racing. Additionally, co-owner Matthias Czabok was named the vice president of marketing and business development.

The new partnership represents much more than a semantic change to the organization; it will focus on leveraging the Arciero racing history and Blair's experience and success in the technology sector. The team will continue to contest the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) FedEx Championship Series with its number 25 Lola and driver Max Wilson.

"Often, the outside business world brings some profound insight to racing," said Albert Arciero. "In much the same way as racing benefited from the migration of aerospace talent in the 80s, Larry brings a creative and adventurous approach from the high tech industry."

The Arciero legacy dates back to Frank Sr.'s debut at the 1959 Indy 500, a bold move that led to decades of motorsports involvement including Indy 500 and CART campaigns and full-time CART team ownership by 1980. Inheriting his father's passion for both racing and business, son Albert was working in the race shop by age 12, becoming an accomplished mechanic before beginning his own successful off-road racing career in 1970. Together, the Arcieros built one of racing's most respected organizations and over the years have had renowned drivers Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Michael Andretti, Bobby and Al Unser in their stable. More recently, in their past relationship with Arciero-Wells Racing they had drivers Max Papis, Robby Gordon, Cristiano da Matta and Hiro Matsushita. Much of the Arcieros' viability on the track can be attributed to their prowess outside the racing arena where they have built successful enterprises that include real estate development, a 5,000-acre alfalfa ranch, and the acclaimed Arciero Winery. They are continuing to add to their racing involvement, with Jerry Forysthe as their partner, in building a racetrack in the Sacramento, Calif. area.

"There are so many similarities between racing and high tech start up companies," said Blair. "I come from a business culture that is like racing, you gather, evaluate and process the information in thousandths of seconds. I want to blend my new economy background to bring a different marketing style and unique perspective to this team and sport. Forming a partnership with the Arcieros, one of the most established names in racing, is a privilege."

A businessman and entrepreneur, Blair enters the motorsports arena not only as a team owner but also as a futurist with the insight and creativity to ignite and develop a powerful racing brand and organization. In the technology sector, Blair held key positions with businesses that laid the foundation of the Internet. His former posts include vice president of marketing for both Redback Networks, Inc. and Ipsilon, and co-founder of Kalpana (the inventor of the Ethernet switch). Recognizing the similarities in the information-driven cultures of technology and motorsports, Blair intends to add the speed and agility of new economy thinking to the conventional wisdom found in racing. Blair promises to take both action and risks in architecting and operating the team. He plans to draw heavily upon the tech industry's proven business-to-business and partnering models in order to accelerate this new venture.

Czabok co-owned and ran an advertising and marketing agency in Germany for seven years before selling his partnership in 1998. He then started a new company specializing in motorsports marketing, working as an independent consultant and European agent for CART teams. In 1999 Czabok became the official marketing agent for programs in the German Touring Car Racing series. In 2000, Czabok joined the Arciero Project Racing Group as director of marketing.

The principals also announced that CART veteran Robert (Bob) Sprow is the new general manager for the Arciero-Blair Racing team. Sprow's impressive career spans more than 20 years in the automotive industry and motorsports. Since graduating from the Ford Motor Company Technical School in 1972, Sprow has worked as either team manager or crew chief for some of the sport's most successful organizations, including Penske Racing, Newman-Haas Racing, Patrick Racing and the Arciero Racing Teams. With many championships already under his belt, and experience in setting up equipment for CART's upper echelon drivers including Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Sr., Roberto Moreno, Andrian Fernandez and Max Papis, Sprow gives Arciero-Blair Racing an immediate head start. His diversity will also play an important role in the innovative approach the team is taking. Aside from his accomplishments in CART, Sprow managed the manufacturers' and drivers' championship-winning International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) GTP teams in 1990 and 1991, and the MTEG Manufacturers' Championship winning teams in 1987, 1988 and 1989.

The next race for the Indianapolis-based team will be the Miller Lite 225, held on June 3 at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wisconsin.


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About this article
Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Robby Gordon , Michael Andretti , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Phil Hill , Dan Gurney , Mario Andretti , Al Unser Sr. , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Team Penske