VW Jetta: AJNR/Brimtek Road America race one notes

AJNR/Brimtek - P15 in an Extremely Frustrating Round 7 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup from Road America Hello Friends, I'm finally resting after another eventful day at Road America in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. We just completed a very grueling...

AJNR/Brimtek - P15 in an Extremely Frustrating Round 7 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup from Road America

Hello Friends,

I'm finally resting after another eventful day at Road America in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. We just completed a very grueling Round 7 of the championship.

The day started off a bit later than usual for us at around 10 AM where we debriefed with our technicians to determine which tires we would run on the car for the race later in the evening. We also wrapped up our driver's meeting with our instructors soon after.

After our quick debriefs, Ralph Shaheen was cool enough to be one of our guest speakers for the weekend. He's been in the racing industry for a good 20 years and knows all the key players. He was able to be as blunt as possible to let us know the reality of being a successful race car driver and personality goes a long way. It was a very informative session and was glad he was able to spend the weekend with us.

I was also able to meet the two veterans that I invited out for the weekend. I met Brad Ellingson along with his wife and kids. Within minutes, Michael Lischka introduced himself who was accompanied by his dad, David. They were all extremely appreciative to have the opportunity to come out and enjoy the race weekend. I gave them all a tour of the technical center, had the vets sign a gold star on the hood of my Brimtek/WWP VW Jetta TDI Cup car, and gave Michael a chance to actually sit behind the wheel of my race car. They all had access to the VW hospitality tent as well as the shuttle vans to escort them around the facility. They were blown away with the entire operation.

Before we knew it, we had our SCCA driver's meeting in preparation for the race. We suited up and hopped into our cars. I would be starting on the outside of row 4 in 8th position. We grid on the front straight, starter lights went on, revved our clean diesel engines, and we were off.

Had a great start and was able to pass Wyatt before entering T1, then after that, it all hit the fan. The pack of cars behind me seemed to be driving like they were in a video game! Using cars as guard rails, bumping and banging...quite unbelievable. I was in survival mode to protect my fenders. It was extremely frustrating as people were pushing their way to the front like their lives depended on it. I honestly thought we were in a bumper car race, very unprofessional. Three wide, four wide, no one seemed to care about crash damage! Before I knew it, I was back in 15th! No one seemed like they wanted to work with each other up to the front, it was every driver on their own. This caused all of us to slow each other down and nobody was gaining any ground. So much happened in that 30 minute race, it's all a blur now.

Even writing about it now after the fact, I'm just really disappointed with a lot of drivers in the series. It seems to be getting worse and I've had my talks with the officials involved with the series to let them know how I feel and believe penalties will be handed down before the night is over. As far as trying to save my fenders, it didn't work out, got tagged pretty good on the passenger side of my car half way through the race. The last thing I needed at this point. Alignment was off and a bit of a handful to drive throughout the rest of the race. In the end, I held onto a 15th place finish.

I've been involved in racing for almost 10 years and will jump out on a limb and be the first to say that this was the worst race I have ever competed in. I've had my battles with some of the front runners throughout this season and I've been able to run a lot of competitors extremely hard without any contact what so ever. Today, I had to keep an eye on my mirrors, it seemed, going into every brake zone as the dive bombs kept coming left and right. This kind of driving doesn't make any friends in my book.

Enough of the venting, I'm just glad the car will still be able to compete in tomorrow morning's race. I'm also glad I'll be starting a bit more closer to the front of the pack in P6. I feel extremely bad for the VW technicians who will be working in the late hours of the night to repair cars and get them back in racing condition for tomorrow.

I'm going to sleep this frustration off. Tomorrow is another day and another race. Not sure where I am in the points as of now, but I'm never giving up. I can't thank everyone enough for the tremendous support and will truly be looking forward to some clean battles tomorrow morning in Round 8.

Until next time, take care!
    AJ Nealey

-source: www.ajnealeyracing.com

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Series SCCA