AJNR/Brimtek - P7 in Practice and Starting P11 for Round 4 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup Tomorrow Hello Fans, Friends and Family, I've just finished up our first day of activities for Round 4 of the 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup at the extremely scenic ...
AJNR/Brimtek - P7 in Practice and Starting P11 for Round 4 of the VW Jetta TDI Cup Tomorrow
Hello Fans, Friends and Family,
I've just finished up our first day of activities for Round 4 of the 2010 VW Jetta TDI Cup at the extremely scenic Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, UT. The rocky mountains in the background will never get old as it's not something I'm used to seeing from the east coast.
The day started off bright and early at 6 AM with a debrief with our technicians to make sure we were of aware of any changes made to the car from our last event. Turns out that I was switched out into a different car this weekend and would be running the Pirelli banner on the sides of the car for the weekend.
After our quick debrief with our techs, it was time for breakfast! They had some killer breakfast burritos! I complemented this with a nice, moist muffin and cup of coffee. I always eat good when I'm at the track!
Soon after chow, it was time for our track walk on the challenging and new-to-me East Course. This is opposite of the configuration that we ran last season and would be new for everyone in the series. Also, Jan Heylen couldn't make it out to the track this weekend as our chief driving instructor. So former Jetta Cup driver and runner-up in last years championship, Andy Lee, would be taking over his duties. Took plenty of notes throughout the walk and had also educated myself on this layout by studying some in car footage off of YouTube. Looked to be a fun and challenging circuit.
Our SCCA driver's meeting was next. Then right after that, we hopped in the cars for our first and only on track practice session. I had the techs put on my used tires from New Jersey on the front of the car and had sticker tires installed in the rear to scrub them in for the session. I took it pretty easy for the first few laps as I bed in a new set of brake pads. Then, started to slowly pick up the pace and was able to manage a 1:47.1 which was good enough for P7 in the session. I learned that this would be a very abrasive track as I just about destroyed the used tires that I had on the front of my Jetta. Smooth driving is key to conserve these tires and make sure that they'll last an entire 30 minute stint. Congrats to JD Mobley on setting the fastest time in the session with a 1:46.5!
After a quick debrief with our technicians and driving instructors, I was able to meet military veteran Dave Haughey and his wife Amanda who were able to make it out for the race weekend. Unfortunately, Andy Figorski was not able to make it out to the track as he came down with a last minute illness. It was more than a pleasure to have Dave and Amanda make it out today. I gave them a tour of the hospitality area as well as the garages where they were able to check out the race car up close. I also had Dave sign one of the gold stars on the hood. They were extremely appreciative for the generosity and also gave him some AJ Nealey Racing swag! They will also be back out tomorrow to catch all of the racing action.
After studying some data and getting some advice from some of the other instructors, I knew what I had to do to improve my lap times out on track. Now it was just a matter of execution in qualifying.
We suited up again and hopped in the car for our 30 minute qualifying session. I had the techs install a brand new set of Pirelli slicks up front and kept my scrubbed set in the rear. I took it easy on the first out lap and gradually brought myself up to speed to conserve the tires and was consistently running in the mid 1:47's for just about the entire session and was only able to get down to a 1:47.3 in the end. Unfortunately, it was only good for P11 for tomorrow's race and about 1.2 seconds off of pole which was accomplished by Jake Thompson. Huge congrats to him. He did an incredible job and ran this smokin' time on his first hot-lap and then parked it for the rest of qualifying. He nailed it by running on new tires and when the track was still fresh at the beginning of the session. Perfect strategy that paid off.
I'm right in the thick of it for tomorrow's race but am eagerly looking forward to it. I believe I have what it takes to run consistent, quick laps that will last the entire 30 minute sprint and hope I can use this to my advantage.
Don't forget, you can watch some of the racing action live from my Ustream TV channel on the internet by checking out my AJ Nealey Racing Live webpage. The action will start at around 11 AM MDT and hope you'll be able to catch the action!
Again, the support has been incredible and thank you all for the words of encouragement.
Take care and talk soon,