VW Jetta: AJ Nealey Millville event summary

Another Top Five Finish Today for Round 3 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup at NJMP and 2nd Overall in the Championship! Hello! Wow...what a way to wrap up the weekend! It might be a broken record, but it's so hard to describe in words how great this...

Another Top Five Finish Today for Round 3 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup at NJMP and 2nd Overall in the Championship!

Hello!

Wow...what a way to wrap up the weekend! It might be a broken record, but it's so hard to describe in words how great this weekend went...and what a Mother's Day weekend it was for Round 3 of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup at the lovely New Jersey Motorsports Park.

The wind continued through today as well and kept it's relentless 20-30 mph winds. But at least it wasn't raining! It was a cool, sunny day and I'm sure we all could use some Burt's Bees lip balm right about now.

We had a chance to sleep in today and didn't need to arrive to the technical center until 8 AM for our debriefs with our technicians. Soon after, we were able to sit down and enjoy some breakfast to start the day! On the menu were some "made to order" omelets! I had cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms in mine...perfect source of energy to start the day! And of course, washed it all down with a nice cup of coffee.

Soon after indulging in some grub, we had our SCCA driver's meeting in the class room to go over starting procedures for the race. And about 15 minutes after the driver's meeting, we had a couple of guest speakers talk to us including Rafael Navarro from Pirelli, Sheldon from Oakley and X-Game Gold Medalist, and guest driver for the weekend, Rune Glifberg. They all had some great insight in how best to present ourselves and to reiterate just how fortunate we are to be involved in such a great series. Good points were made by all.

After our meetings, spending some time reviewing data and talking with friends, family and fans, we got dressed and hopped in our cars to get ready for the start of Round 3 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup!

We grid, as usual, on the front straight for our standing start. We waited for the lights to come on, once they were illuminated, we revved our clean diesel engines, lights go out, and we take off!

I started in P11 which was on the inside of row 6. It was the dirty part of the racing line, but was still advantageous as I was on the inside going into T1. A couple people in front bog a little on the start and the field is bunching up hard core going into the braking zone at T1. There were a majority of rookies in front of me who may not have been used to cold tires for the start of the race. It was apparent as there was a bunch of door to door contact going into the first 3-4 turns with cars sliding, spinning and going off in all sorts of directions. I took advantage of their mistakes and before I knew it, I was sitting in P5 on the very first lap!

I was part of a pack including me, Chris Wehrheim, Arie Ouimet, Juan Pablo Delgado and Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle. We broke away from the rest of the field and were all running in the 1:35's which were smokin' times. Almost half way through the race, things started to get a little bit dicey. I'm not sure who, but someone tagged Juan Pablo Delgado going into T1. After his off road excursion, this put me up to 4th. That very same lap, I was about half a car width off line going into the chicane at T3 and got into the marbles. The car got loose on me and went off to the right side of the track. I was looking at the guard rail and saying in my helmet "no no NO!!" I locked the wheel to the left, punched the brake to get some traction up front and missed the guard rail and the tire wall by less then a foot and just nicked a hay bail! I was pretty lucky not to ball up the car and was able to continue but it unfortunately shuffled me back to P8 with Andrew Novich on my bumper.

I put my head down and got back into my groove and started to methodically come back up through the field to regain some of the spots I had lost. Before I knew it, I was back up to P5! A couple laps before the finish, I had passed Wyatt Gooden who was all over my bumper for the last couple laps but I was able to hold him off to the checkered flag to hold onto another top 5 finish for the season!

What an up and down race for me...but couldn't be happier to gain some needed points for the championship which, I believe, puts me in second place overall. I ran the second fastest lap of the race with a 1:35.6 which was only 4 hundreths of a second off the record set by Jake Thompson during the race who finished a very respectable 8th. A huge congrats to Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle for his first win in three seasons of the VW Jetta TDI Cup. Also a big congrats to rookies Arie Ouimet, Chris Wehrheim and Nate Norenburg who finised 2nd, 3rd and 4th respectively. We put on a great show for the crowd on hand!

Again, had a great AJNR crowd on hand to join me for the on track action including my mom (Happy Mother's Day!) and dad, co-workers, kids, and other local fans! Iraqi Veteran, Josh Fry, along with his dad Norman from Wilmington, DE were also back again to enjoy the race. They also brought other family members as well to spectate and they all thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

I'm finally home now relaxing and reminscing on just how cool this past weekend was and how I'am so fortunate to have enjoyed it with so many great people. Great times and hope to keep this momentum going forward for the rest of the season!

Can't thank you all for the tremendous support! Stay tuned as I'll have more updates between now and Round 4 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup at the very scenic Miller Motorsports Park just outside of Salt Lake City, UT.

Stay safe and take care!
    AJ Nealey

-source: www.ajnealeyracing.com

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About this article
Series SCCA
Drivers Chris Wehrheim , Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle , Andrew Novich , Wyatt Gooden , Rafael Navarro , Arie Ouimet