Ryan Ellis Comes To Garden State with Lead in Series Point Standings Volkswagen Motorsports Manager, Campbell, on the 2010 Season "Last weekend at VIR, we saw some of the cleanest and most competitive driving we've had in the three seasons of...
Ryan Ellis Comes To Garden State with Lead in Series Point Standings
Volkswagen Motorsports Manager, Campbell, on the 2010 Season
"Last weekend at VIR, we saw some of the cleanest and most competitive driving we've had in the three seasons of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup," said Clark Campbell, Motorsports Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "Hopefully next weekend's event at New Jersey Motorsports Park will provide fans with the same excitement. The 2010 season is off to a great start -- we have a fantastic group of drivers and it's shaping up to be the best year yet. The action at VIR really highlights the benefits of clean diesel technology and reinforces the fact that the Jetta TDI Cup is a unique and competitive form of racing."
Nine Veterans Return to New Jersey Motorsports Park -- Including Race Winners
This season, there are nine drivers returning to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup from last year, including 2009 race winner Jake Thompson. In Round 8 last year, Thompson led just one lap all day -- the final one, on the way to his second victory of the year. Four other veteran drivers have earned top-ten finishes in Millville, including Ryan Ellis, Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle, JD Mobley and Andrew Cordeiro.
In addition to earning two top-ten finishes at New Jersey Motorsports Park last season, Ryan Ellis also comes to New Jersey as a two-race winner in 2010. Last weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, Ellis earned wins and poles in Rounds One and Two, marking his first career Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup victories. Can he go for the hat trick in New Jersey? Talk with him to learn how his success in Virginia affects his strategy heading into New Jersey.
New Jersey Gets a Different Role in 2010
Last year, the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup came to New Jersey Motorsports Park for Rounds 8 & 9 -- leaving only one more event in the season after race weekend. This year, the race will provide the Series with its third round of action, which could mean an entirely different strategy for the drivers. Talk with them to see if moving the date on the race schedule changes the way they will prepare for race day. If a driver takes a risk next weekend and it doesn't pay off, they still have seven races to make up points; last year there was only one race after New Jersey, so playing it safe and earning points was the smart move. Will this season's scheduling of the event provide a whole different complexion to the race?
Points Double in New Jersey
In order to reduce the advantage that Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup veteran drivers had over the rookies competing for the first time, the 2010 season's first two races awarded half the points that the subsequent eight events will yield. Therefore, Ryan Ellis only earned 60 points for capturing two checkered flags last weekend, while the race winner at New Jersey Motorsports Park will earn 60 points for just one victory. Talk with the drivers about how that affects the points race and whether or not that will change the strategy heading into Sunday's event.
Three Drivers Within Less Than 90 Miles of New Jersey Motorsports Park
When the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup heads to New Jersey Motorsports Park, three drivers will not have far to go as they all live within 90 miles of the 2.25-mile permanent road course. AJ Severino lives just under 80 miles away in Hamilton, NJ. While two other drivers may live in other states, they are still within 90 miles of the track: Colin Thompson lives in Perkasie, PA (75 miles from the track); and AJ Nealey lives in Edgewater, MD (90 miles from the track).
AJ Severino - The 2010 season marks Severino's entry into competitive racing. In 2008, he attended a Bertil Roos five-day racing school and from that point on, Severino knew he wanted to be a racecar driver. The Hamilton, NJ native plans to learn as much as possible in his debut with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup this season and begin to work his way up the racing ranks. At home, Severino drives a Volkswagen Jetta.
Colin Thompson - Thompson started his racing career at the age of five when he began competing in Quarter Midgets of America (QMA). During his tenure in QMA, Thompson was able to record over 100 wins and several regional Championship victories. In addition, he also won the National Championship in the World Formula Class and finished second in the Senior Honda Class. In 2008, Thompson began attending Skip Barber driving schools as well as competing in their races. In addition, he began racing in Bertil Roos events in the summer of 2009. Thompson also competes in autocrosses, where he's driven Mini Coopers and Volkswagen GTI's; in two races driving the GTI, he's earned a first and second place finish. Coincidentally, Thompson first learned about the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup when he attended an event at New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2008. Since then, he's always wanted to compete in the Series. His goals for this season are to run consistently in the top-ten and earn Rookie of the Year honors.
AJ Nealey - Nealey started his racing career in 2002 when he began competing in SCCA-sanctioned regional autocross events. He then moved into the karting and regional sports car racing events. In 2008, Nealey won the ITA Mid-Atlantic Road Racing Series Championship after winning the pole and race in each of the series' eight events. Nealey also co-drove in several NASA-MA races in 2008, accumulating five wins and setting three track records. Nealey competed in the 2009 Jetta TDI Cup Series where he finished 12th in the Championship point standings on the strength of two podium appearances and five top-ten finishes. Nealey's racing career goal is to compete in the American Le Mans Series.
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.