Team USA Nations Cup Qualifying (Formula Ford)

For immediate release: October 18, 1997 Edwards stars in Formula Ford World Cup Action Mixed day for Team USA Scholarship winners Young American racer Paul Edwards played a starring role in...

For immediate release: October 18, 1997

Edwards stars in Formula Ford World Cup Action Mixed day for Team USA Scholarship winners

Young American racer Paul Edwards played a starring role in today's pre-qualifying activities for the prestigious Formula Ford World Cup at Brands Hatch, England.

Edwards, 19, from Santa Maria, California, qualified on pole for his two

pre-qualifying heat races, won them both in his Valvoline Team USA Scholarship Swift SC972, then went on to secure the pole for one of the three final qualifying races which will take place tomorrow morning.

"The qualifying process is pretty confusing," said Edwards, "but basically, anybody who didn't finish among the top six in the various national championships "and that included me" had to go through this whole pre-qualifying process. But the good news is that the car was working well, I was able to win both my races, and then I had another qualifying session. I ended up with the second fastest time of the day (46.3 seconds) and I will start tomorrow's race from the pole."

The other two pole sitters on Sunday morning will be factory Van Diemen drivers Victor Meira, from Brazil, and Dutchman Jacky van der Ende. The

top eight finishers in each race will proceed to the Grand Final Sunday afternoon. Among the many prizes is a test-drive in the Stewart-Ford Formula 1 car.

Meanwhile, at Donington Park, some 200 miles to the north, the two other

Team USA Scholarship winners, Matt Sielsky and Buddy Rice, showed good speed in practice but encountered problems during qualifying.

Sielsky, 19, from Northbrook, Illinois, set the third fastest time in the morning practice, with Rice, 21, from Phoenix, Arizona, just .4 seconds slower in seventh. In the two qualifying sessions however, Sielsky's best laps were interrupted by traffic and Rice encountered an engine problem. The John Village Automotive crew performed sterling work in changing the motor in Rice's car prior to the second session, but he wound up only 16th. Sielsky will start the first of tomorrow's two races in 13th.

"It's disappointing but the car feels good," said Rice. "We have two long races ahead of us and I feel sure we can move up. Don't count us out yet."

Added Sielsky: "We changed the shocks on my car and we made a definite improvement. The car is consistent. Obviously, I'd like to be farther up on the grid, but I think Buddy and I will be able to work together and make up some places."

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