Those are his own words… Welcome guest contributor AJ Nealey and his race report from Mosport.
What a roller coaster of a weekend! This was round 7 of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup at Mosport in the lovely Ontario, Canada. This was also my first time at this historic track and looked to be extremely fast! Weather also looked pretty flukey for the weekend and was amped coming into the weekend after my podium finish from the last round at Road America.
Friday evening consisted of our track walk with Jan Heylen, our chief driving instructor. Again, in car footage and photos do not do this track any justice. Getting out on the surface and looking at it from a driver’s stand point show just how much elevation this track has. No other track can really compare.
Also, no other fans can really compare to the ones in attendance during the weekend at Mosport! Die hard! The amount of fans in attendance camping out at the track was unbelievable! They also come quite prepared with their own scaffolding to get the best view possible to watch the on track festivities. Incredible!
After our track walk, we were then prepared to hit the track first thing Saturday morning. When we woke up, rain was upon us! I was excited. We have yet to experience any real wet conditions during the year and was looking forward to running our 30 minute practice session on the Pirelli rain tires. We took to the track and was able to slowly pick up speed throughout the session and was able to run my fastest lap of the session on the last lap with a 1:49.2 which was third fastest on the time sheets. I was happy with the outing and was looking forward to qualifying later that afternoon. Big congrats to Theresa Condict on posting the second fastest time of the session with a 1:48.9.
The sun came out later in the day and we had a dry track upon us for our qualifying session. As we took to the track on our out lap, I hadn’t spent enough time vigorously heating up the Pirelli racing slicks. I took it easy on the entrance to the extremely fast right hand turn 8. As I was weaving the car back and forth mid-turn, I got into a little bit of marbles on the outside edge of the track, caught me off guard, and before I know it, I’m off the track and heading for the outside wall! Not much run off room out there and I nicked the left rear of the car onto the tire wall. I pulled the car in and the technicians went to work on it. The worked as fast and efficiently as they could to get me back out there. After a few minutes, I went back out and noticed that the left rear tire was rubbing on the body. I came back in as they went back over the car. By the time I got back out, there was a full course caution. As I was back out on the track behind the pace car, I also noticed the alignment was off. Something was bent in the left rear of the car and it just wasn’t handling correctly. But the track went green for one more lap and did my best putting down a 1:41.0 which put me back in 21st position. Not a session that I was looking for.
Sunday morning, we would be first out on track for our 30 minute race. As we arrived to the track, it was sprinkling pretty heavy which was making me pumped for this race. I, unfortunately didn’t get any real experience on this track in the dry and knew that I could be somewhat competitive if it were to rain. There was a good amount of humidity along with the intermittent sprinkling. The decision was made to put on the Pirelli rain tires for the race.
We took to the track, gridded up, starting lights on, clean diesel engines revved, lights off, off we go! Very clean going into turn 1 with no incidents what-so-ever. I put my head down and slowly picked my way through the field moving as high as 14th at one point. But there were issues. It hadn’t sprinkled anymore since the start of the race and the track was dry! These Pirelli tires could only take so much abuse as they weren’t designed for this. Everyone was in the same playing field and this race turned in to a dirt sprint car race. I think I was turning left more than I was turning right on this clockwise track. Every turn induced incredible oversteer. It was crazy! You could see the tread blocks coming off the tires when the car was mid-turn. Even driving down the straight was a handful. The back end of the car was weaving as we were accelerating down the back straight. I had never experienced a car do that before. Wild stuff! Braking zones were pretty hairy as well. Always had to be on your toes. Unfortunately, the car got away from me going into the braking zone at T1 and went off slightly and back on, but I dropped a few spots. I then made up some ground, then went off again on the outside of T8 but safely got back on track losing a couple positions. In the end of this crazy race, I finished P17.
Congrats to Mark Pombo who dominated the weekend! He was the fastest driver on the top of the time sheets in every session. He had also grabbed pole by 8 tenths of a second over 2nd place and ran away from the field at the beginning of the race with a 13 second lead at one point. He did an incredible job maintaining his tires and held on for the win! Another shout out goes to a hometown hero, Andrew Cordiero, for achieving a podium finish in front of his home crowd!
Yup, crazy weekend for me, but still had a blast. You know what they say? That’s racing! All I can do is pick myself back up and get ready for rounds 8 & 9 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Be on the lookout for the Brimtek sponsored VW Jetta TDI Cup car that weekend! It’s the closest race for me on the schedule and hope to have a lot of local support during the double header race weekend. Should be good times!
Again, can’t thank you all enough for your support throughout the season. We’re 7 rounds into the championship and I still can’t believe the position I’m in! Still unreal!
Until next time, take care!
Tremendous supporters this season:
Dave Tilton @ Brimtek Inc.
Jeremy Lucas @ FASTtech Limited
Jess Hewitt @ Hyperfuels (official fuel supplier of the VW Jetta TDI Cup)
Matt Kessler @ Kessler Engineering
RoadRaceAutoX.com - “Where the Cool Kids Hang Out”
Jane Watkins @ Watkins PR
Darrin Dingman @ Banyan Business Partners
Scott Boccia @Cover 2 Marketing
Jim Nealey @ Storyboardnow.com
Susan Nealey @ Keller Williams Realty
John Coe @Hondamans Auto Service
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