THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
NICK RONDET (#26 Skip Barber's "Big Scholarship") - As well as being a strong training ground, the Barber Dodge Pro Series is also a transitional program, enabling drivers from other markets to move into other American formula series."I was born in France, but I only lived there until I was 7 years old. Then I went to Brazil and lived for 15 years. I went back to Europe in '91, because if you have a lot of money, Brazil is a very good place to go racing. But if you don't, it's worthless. When you go somewhere else, no one knows you, and you have to start all over again. My main idea when I came from Europe, even when I left Brazil,was to have a look at the Skip Barber Pro Series. When I first talked to them, they told me 'You would fit perfectly in our 2 litre series, because you need some more experience.' And they told me about theBig Scholarship program, and the ladder (working through Barber to the higher level series such as Indy Lights and Atlantic), and I thought 'this is what I need'" Rondet went on to win the championship, and moved up into the Pro series. He will race the Glen for the first time this weekend.
ALFONSO RIBEIRO (#33 AutoNation) - Ribeiro "caught the bug" while racing in the Neon Challenge pro/celebrity series, and made the jump into the Barber Dodge series at the last race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. He has never run at Watkins Glen, and plans to take things easy as he learns the track. "Go slow. That's pretty much how you want to start out, and just check out the track. Go slow, learn it, find out what the track wants, and then just slowly work your way up to speed. It's a great sport. I think it's America's new sport. It's the one sport now that, kind of, everybody's getting into. It's become one of the most popular sports in America. I'm having a blast doing this. It's good fun, and I want to move up one day, and continue racing, and this is a great place to start, and learn, and get better."
MARK PAUL GOSSELAAR (#99 AutoNation) - A last minute confirmation brings Gosselaar to the Glen for his first time. He shares both sponsorship and history with Ribeiro, driving an Auto Nation sponsored Barber Dodge instead of a Neon Challenge car. "They're (Neons) good cars, it's just that it's a completely different driving style, because they're front wheel drive. I'm not really comfortable in a front wheel drive car, and I never did very well. Being able to do this is a great opportunity and I plan on doing well this year. I think that this series is one of the best trainingwise, because you come to tracks that, hopefuly, you'll be driving in the future, and you have great teachers from Skip Barber who are helping you progress, and moneywise, you can't beat it."