Rio Big Scholarship Shootout Visits Human Performance International
SEBRING, Fla. - The 1998 Skip Barber Racing School Rio Big Scholarship Shootout kicked off Monday morning with a presentation of the Physical & Mental Readiness and Auto Racing Performance program at Human Performance International (HPI) in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 11 drivers invited to the shootout were chosen based on their performance this season in one of the four Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series championships. The winner of the Rio Big Scholarship Shootout, which continues at Sebring International Raceway Tuesday and Wednesday, will receive a full season (valued at $175,000) in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. In the program Monday, the invitees to the Rio Big Scholarship Shootout learned about the interaction of physical and mental preparedness in high-performance driving in a lecture and test session administered by HPI principles Dr. Jacques Dallaire and Dr. Dan Marisi. The drivers also received a tour of Human Performance's facilities, which have trained over 300 of top drivers in the world, including Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and the late Formula 1 champion Ayrton Senna; as well as a personal demonstration and sampling of HPI's advanced computer testing equipment. "It is important for a driver to have muscular strength; it is more important for a driver to have superior endurance," noted Dallaire. "Stamina is not a strength in racers, it's an Achilles heel and that's where we can make the largest gains." The presentation, which was well received by the drivers, also included a number of concentration tests and mental exercises administered by internationally-renowned sports psychologist Dr. Marisi. The Rio Big Scholarship Shootout invitees are: Tim Enoch of Mission Viejo, Calif.; Kip Gulseth of Manitowoc, Wis.; Eric Jones of Granger, Iowa; Matt Plumb of Unionville, Pa.; Randy Puro of Emeryville, Calif.; Ryan Hunter-Reay of Boca Raton, Florida; Joshua Rehm of Plymouth, Mass.; Chris Sullivan of Canton, Mich.; Michael Topp of Englishtown, N.J.; Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C., Canada; and Roger Yasukawa of Santa Monica, Calif. The next two days will test the drivers' racing and qualifying skills in the 260-horsepower Dodge-powered Reynard 98E car used in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. Personal interviews and media relations will also be part of the judging process, as well as the ability of the drivers to analyze and evaluate data acquisition and how it relates to car setup and driving styles. The Rio Big Scholarship, which is sponsored by the Rio All-Suite Casino Resort in Las Vegas, is one of the top prizes in the $1 million Skip Barber Ladder System. The scholarship program provides financial and coaching assistance, helping young, talented drivers progress from Karting to the CART FedEx Championship Series. The Barber Dodge Pro Series, televised on ESPN2, is recognized internationally as the premier development series for up-and-coming racing drivers. The Pro Series has produced such talents as CART FedEx star Bryan Herta, Indy Racing League champion Kenny Brack, and Juan Pablo Montoya, the newest member of the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing Team, An acclaimed panel of judges is on site to evaluate the candidates' abilities. The 1998 team of judges consists of professional drivers Kelly Collins, Jim Pace, Barry Waddell, and Peter Argetsinger, along with auto racing journalists Jeremy Shaw and Gordon Kirby. The winners of the four regional Skip Barber Formula Dodge Race Series(Eastern, Southern, Midwestern and Western) received an automatic invitation to the Rio Big Scholarship Shootout. The remainder of the field was chosen by Formula Dodge Race Series instructors.
The 1998 Rio Big Scholarship winner will be announced at the conclusion of the shootout.
The Rio Big Scholarship Shootout Finalists
Tim Enoch, 26, of Mission Viejo, Calif. - Finished 5th in Formula Dodge Midwestern Series
Kip Gulseth, 26, of Manitowac, Wis. - Finished 3rd in Formula Dodge Midwestern Series
Eric Jones, 21, of Granger, Iowa - Skip Barber Karting Scholarship winner; finished 8th in Formula Dodge Midwestern Series
Matt Plumb, 24, of Unionville, Pa. - Formula Dodge Southern Series champion
Randy Puro, 26, of Emeryville, Calif. - Finished 2nd in Formula Dodge Western Series
Ryan Hunter-Reay, 17, of Boca Raton, Fla. - Skip Barber Karting Scholarship winner; finished 6th in Formula Dodge Southern Series
Josh Rehm, 20, of Plymouth Mass. - Formula Dodge Eastern Series champion
Chris Sullivan, 34, of Canton, Mich. - Finished 4th in Formula Dodge Midwestern Series
Michael Topp, 23, of Englishtown, N. J. - Finished 2nd in Formula Dodge Eastern Series
Michael Valiante, 19, of Vancouver, British Columbia - Formula Dodge Midwestern Series champion; Skip Barber Karting Scholarship winner
Roger Yasukawa, 21, of Santa Monica, Calif. - Formula Dodge Western Series champion