Michael DeNino Climbs to the Podium at Iowa Speedway The competition in the Jetta TDI Cup is becoming more intense with each race. With a mere one second spread covering first through twenty-seventh in qualifying, the series is shaping up to...
Michael DeNino Climbs to the Podium at Iowa Speedway
The competition in the Jetta TDI Cup is becoming more intense with each race. With a mere one second spread covering first through twenty-seventh in qualifying, the series is shaping up to be one of the tightest and most competitive in all of motorsports.
Iowa Speedway hosted the fifth round of the championship and was the beginning of three back to back race weekends which will conclude the 2008 season. After leaving Lime Rock with a pole position and a fifth place finish, I had a new level of confidence but I also understood what aspects of my performance I had to work at and improve.
Instead of the usual two day format, our practice, qualifying and race all took place on the same day. Practice went well; it was great fun to experience a speedway banked turn for the first time and the transitions between the oval and infield road course were particularly exciting. Qualifying did not produce the results I had been aiming for, however it was not a complete disaster and I knew I would build upon the knowledge I had acquired and apply it in the race. Starting from the 12th position on the grid, I was going to have my work cut out for me.
Doing a standing start on banking presented its own unique challenges. Leaving the grid for our reconnaissance lap I realized how significant a factor the banking would play in the start. I made some adjustments to my technique, and when the lights went out and the race started I got an amazing launch, passing several cars before even entering the infield. After catching a big slide on cold tires, I was able to overtake two more cars in the infield and found myself in fifth position by the end of the first lap! Spending a few laps chasing down the top four cars, I was able to gain another position in the heaving braking zone of the infield transition, moving up to fourth. Contact between two cars behind me brought out the first and only full course caution of the race.
Following the re-start, I was able to make two more passes over the next several laps and with roughly half the race to go, I was in second place. The leader had pulled away but I was working harder than ever to catch him. With a few laps left in the race I was right on his bumper with third place only feet behind. With two laps to go, I made an error coming out of the last turn, and fell back to third. I would finish the race in third, ecstatic that I had earned my first podium finish of the season!
It was an amazing feeling to be on the podium for the first time in the Jetta TDI Cup series. With an estimated 18,000 people in attendance, we received a lot of positive response from the fans, a very special experience for me and something which I will never forget.
I would like to thank PitFit Training for their support, as my physical conditioning definitely played a significant factor, both mentally and physically, to my success this weekend. I would also like to thank STENGTH Interactive for their hard work getting my web site ready in time for this event, as well as Barnes Paving for their continued support. A special thanks to Volkswagen, the driving coaches, staff, mechanics and technical team, for they put in a great deal of hard work leading up to this event and will be working non stop for the next two weeks to finish off the season.
There is a quick turn around before the next race, only spending a few days at home before heading to New Jersey Motorsports Park for the only double header of the season, September 26-28.