VALLEY-JUNCTION | Originally from Scott, Mario Gosselin has only very rare opportunities to reconnect with his native Beauce.
Present in Vallée-Jonction, as part of the third stop of the NASCAR Pinty's Series season, the man who in 2010 became the first Quebec driver to race full-time in one or other of the three major divisions of the stock- because American came to give a hand to Jean-Philippe Bergeron this weekend, at the Autodrome Chaudière.
Gosselin, owner of a team in the Xfinity Series, the antechamber of the NASCAR Cup, was recruited by the Quebec company Festidrag Development (directed by Martin d'Anjou) to advise the young driver from Saint-Donat-de-Montcalm which is in its first rounds of the wheel in the highest championship in the country.
“There is no doubt that Jean-Philippe is gifted, recognizes Gosselin. He learns quickly and already behaves like a veteran. Facing formidable opponents [like Andrew Ranger, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin and Alexandre Tagliani] is the best learning.
“Quebec has very good pilots who could break through in the United States, he said, but talent is not enough. Money is everything. »
This is the eternal debate in motor racing. Talk to Raphaël Lessard, this other Beauceron whose promising career in the series of Camping World Vans was abruptly interrupted in May 2021, due to lack of financial support.
With Labbé since 2016
Bergeron is engaged full-time in the NASCAR Pinty's Series in 2022 (within the renowned Dave Jacombs team) after having learned his skills not only in Quebec, but also south of the border, notably in the ARCA series.
"It's reassuring to have a guy as experienced as Mario by my side," said Bergeron. Despite his busy schedule, he finds the time to come and help us and it is appreciated. We can see that he has the success of Quebec pilots at heart. »
In 2017, this same Jacombs, and Gosselin, who acted as team manager at the time, joined forces to provide Alex Labbé with the NASCAR Pinty's Series championship, including five victories on the clock.
Labbé and Gosselin have also been partners in NASCAR Xfinity since 2016. The Bois-Francs driver will be making his 125th start in the specialty when he takes part in the Nashville event next week. Last Saturday, Labbé also scored his best result of the season by reaching the finish in 10th place at the Portland road circuit.
Established in Florida
50 years old and established since 1983 in Lake Wales, Florida, Gosselin has a solid track record on the racing circuit.
At the Martinsville oval track in 2004, he became the second native Quebecer, after Yvon Duhamel, to qualify for a NASCAR Cup event. He has another participation (the same year at Darlington) in the queen discipline of the American stock car.
His record also shows 42 starts in the Xfinity Series (from 1998 to 2017) and 47 in Vans, where he achieved his best result at Talladega, finishing in sixth position in 2009. The following year, he took part in the 24 stages of this same championship of Vans.
As recently as February 2021, Gosselin wanted to get back behind the wheel of a race car (Xfinity) on the famous Daytona speedway, but rain forced the cancellation of the qualifying session and put an end to his efforts to secure his place among the 40 starters.