FAIRFIELD, NJ. (January 2, 2002) -- Team USA Scholarship winner Bryan Sellers and Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship driver has begun preparations for the New Zealand International Formula Ford Championship, which starts this coming weekend, with some pre-championship testing.

In his first-ever visit to Ruapuna International Raceway, near Christchurch, on New Zealand's South Island, Sellers bettered the existing track record. Driving for former New Zealand Formula Ford Champion John Crawford, who will oversee both Team USA Scholarship entries under his Canterbury Racing School/Crawford Services banner, Sellers set the fastest time in day one, 1:30.80. In day two of the test, the Nineteen year-old was just marginally slower than his Team USA teammate A.J. Allmendinger, posting a time of 1:30.49. This betters the existing lap record of 1:30.6.

"I'm pretty impressed really," said John Crawford. "They're like a breath of fresh air. They've fitted in very nicely -- very good guys to work with. Ruapuna's a very technical track, and they're right on the pace. We couldn't have asked for two better guys."

"The cars are difficult to drive fast and not at all what I expected," said Sellers. "You have to be smooth and precise. We have had a range of weather conditions, with a little rain at the end of the second day. This is a very good team. I think we have everything we need to win so now it's just a matter of doing it!"

The Team USA drivers continue testing, before traveling onward to the world's southernmost race track, Teretonga, at Invercargill, for the first race of the championship this coming weekend. Sellers will be looking to follow in the long line of New Zealand Grand Prix winners, which include Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, Sir Jackie Stewart and Sir Jack Brabham.

- www.usf2000.com