Photo: © All rights reserved. Corey Beaman
25 of North America’s Most Promising Young Drivers Hit the Track for Season Kick-Off on April 23
2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup – Rounds 1 & 2
Circuit: Virginia International Raceway (VIR) – Alton, VA
Dates/Times: April 24 (Round 1) – 10:15 am & April 25 (Round 2) – 12:45 pm
Race Length: 30 minutes
2009 Race Winners: Joey Atterbury and Driver Jake Thompson
2009 Pole Winners: Joey Atterbury and Timmy Megenbier
Volkswagen Motorsports Manager, Campbell, looks for further success in 2010
‘We’re really looking forward to the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series season-opener,’ said Clark Campbell, motorsports manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. ‘With two seasons under our belt, I think we’ve really been able to build our awareness among fans and potential drivers alike. This year, we’ll be looking to capitalize on that momentum to highlight the benefits of clean diesel technology while increasing interest in our Series at the same time. We’ve got another fantastic crop of drivers and I can’t wait to get things started in Virginia.’
Virginia Tech students earn their racing stripes with the Jetta TDI Cup
There’s no better experience than on-the-job training, which is why nearly 20 engineering students from Virginia Tech University are taking part in the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup season. The Volkswagen Motorsports Jetta TDI Cup program allows Virginia Teach students interested in pursuing a career in motorsports with an opportunity to experience it first-hand. The students provide technical support at Volkswagen’s race shop at VIR and on the road at the Series’ ten race events. During the season, up to fifteen students will travel to each race and work alongside the Series technicians getting hands-on experience with every aspect of motorsports from changing tires to downloading data.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup internship program is an ideal way for students interested in a career in motorsports to learn about the industry and it provides them with the advantage of real-world experience before they enter the workplace.
VW race shop located at VIR
In the spring of 2008, Volkswagen established VIR as its Jetta TDI Cup headquarters by moving in to its 10,000 square foot race shop, located in the motorsports industrial park area at the track. A team of eight shop employees as well as students from Virginia Tech University spend countless hours in the facility preparing the Jetta TDIs for competition.
Volkswagen chose VIR after conducting its 2008 preseason testing at the track. At that point, the decision was made to locate the new Series’ shop at the track because of its first-rate facilities and the proximity to Volkswagen’s U.S. headquarters in Herndon, VA.
Right in our own backyard – two drivers hail from Virginia
Ryan Ellis (Ashburn, VA) – Ellis is a third-generation racecar driver who began competing in quarter midgets at age four and compiled more than 100 feature race wins. He then advanced into INEX Legends cars where he claimed the Virginia State Championship in 2006. In 2008, he competed in the NASA Mid Atlantic Spec Miata Challenge series where he finished second in the championship standings and was named the NASA Mid Atlantic ‘Driver of the Year.’
Last year, Ryan Ellis made his debut in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup and finished 13th in the Championship standings. In 2009, Ellis earned five top-ten finishes in the final five events of the season, registering a personal best of seventh at Mosport International Raceway. Earlier this year, Ellis competed in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Daytona. He finished 10th in his debut in the Series driving a Mazdaspeed3 for Freedom Autosport. Ellis is completing his sophomore year as a business marketing major at George Mason University.
Jenna Wagner (Bristol, VA) – In 2005, Wagner first hit the track at Lonesome Pine Raceway in Virginia in their Racing 101 Program. In 2006, she graduated and drove a Dodge Neon in the UCAR Division at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway. For the next two seasons, Wagner returned to her favorite track, Lonesome Pine, where she would compete in the MOD-4 Division in a Ford Thunderbird earning Rookie of the Year in 2008. In 2009, Wagner moved to the Charger Division while finishing third in the Championship standings and once again earning Rookie of the Year honors. The 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup season will help Wagner earn valuable seat time and mature as a racecar driver. She plans to not only learn from Series instructors, but her fellow drivers as well. Wagner hopes to one day compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Thompson looks to repeat in 2010
Last season, Jake Thompson earned his first Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup win in the weekend’s second race at VIR. The Calgary native started on the front row and led 12 of the race’s 14 laps before taking the checkered flag. This victory came in just his second event in a racecar; now with an entire season under his belt, you can bet he’s got his sights set on Victory Lane once again in 2010.
‘I really enjoyed racing at VIRginia International Raceway last season, and I can’t wait to get back,’ said Thompson. ‘VIR is an amazing racetrack and last year we were able to put on a great show for the fans. Prior to joining the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, I didn’t have a tremendous amount of experience racing cars; I’d mostly competed in go-karts. So, to come out last year and win in just my second appearance behind the wheel of a Jetta TDI Cup car was fantastic. Volkswagen has created a truly unique Series that not only provides excitement on the track, but it’s also a great organization designed to help young drivers with their careers. Plus, running on clean diesel fuel, the Series sets the standard as far as ‘green racing.’ I had a blast last year and I’m looking forward to opening the 2010 season next week at VIR as a defending race winner. Certainly there’s a bit of pressure coming back as a former winner, so I just have to make sure I stay calm and focused out there and run a smooth race. To win races in the Jetta TDI Cup, you definitely need a little bit of luck on your side, so if you stay patient and put in a solid performance each time you hit the track, the results will follow.’
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