VOLKSWAGEN TO HOST TWO GUEST DRIVERS THIS WEEKEND AT ROAD AMERICA Pair of Drivers Comes From Opposite Sides of Racing Spectrum HERNDON, Va. (August 18, 2010) -- Volkswagen of America, Inc. has announced that two guest drivers will participate...
VOLKSWAGEN TO HOST TWO
GUEST DRIVERS THIS WEEKEND AT ROAD AMERICA
Pair of Drivers Comes From Opposite Sides of Racing Spectrum
HERNDON, Va. (August 18, 2010) -- Volkswagen of America, Inc. has announced that two guest drivers will participate in this weekend's Jetta TDI Cup action at Road America. While both come to the Series with backgrounds in racing, their experience in the industry is very different.
On Saturday afternoon, racing phenom Cooper MacNeil and broadcasting veteran Ralph Sheheen will bump up the field from 25 to 27 as they compete in Round Seven of the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup. MacNeil, just shy of his eighteenth birthday, is one of auto racing's newest success stories, and he currently competes as a SCCA Nationally licensed Touring 2 driver. Sheheen also has experience in racing, but it's on the other side of the camera; as he's covered virtually every form of competition that the sport has to offer as a broadcaster.
While these two guest drivers may come from different corners of the racing world, the one thing they have in common is their love of speed; which will certainly make for an interesting weekend as they square off against the Jetta TDI Cup field on the historic circuit at Road America. Both guests will participate in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup race on Saturday, as well as take part in all on and off-track events, including practice and qualifying. MacNeil will be participating throughout the entire weekend and will also compete on Sunday in Round Eight of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. While they'll be full participants, they will be ineligible for points or prize money. Full-time series participants will move up the final race results accordingly.
"I'm looking forward to seeing our guest drivers compete in the TDI Cup this weekend," said Clark Campbell, Motorsports Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "One of our drivers is just beginning his career and it will certainly be interesting to see how he does in a Jetta TDI Cup car. In addition Ralph (Sheheen) has been covering motorsports for two decades, so I think his experience will definitely pay off on this challenging road course."
About the Guest Drivers:
MacNeil began his racing career just months after his 16th birthday in September 2008 by attending a Bob Bondurant racing school and he's only picking up speed. In just two years as a professional driver, he has participated in 45 races in a number of series including SCCA, NASA, Grand-Am and German VLN.
In 2009, MacNeil began competing in SCCA Club racing, where he first started in Regionals, but would quickly go on to get his National license later that year. He qualified for SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America in Touring 3, where he qualified tenth and finished sixth. MacNeil also competed in the 2009 NASA Thunderhill 25 Hour Race with his father, David MacNeil and his mentor Randy Pobst; in which they placed seventh in class and 24th overall.
In 2010, MacNeil began competing in Touring 2 and to date, has earned five wins in seven events. In addition, he's set Touring 2 track records at Sebring and Blackhawk Farms and he earned a second-place finish in Touring 2 at SCCA's largest annual club race, the Chicago Region June Sprints at Road America. MacNeil also competed in German VLN this season, where he finished eighth in class at the Nurburgring 6-Hour and finished 61st overall out of 199 starters.
The native of Sacramento, CA. has been broadcasting motorsports on national television for over 20 years. As a nationally recognized broadcaster he has covered everything from Swamp Buggies to Formula One and from Supercross to Moto G-P. During his lengthy career Ralph has held microphones for a wide variety of major television networks including TNN, Prime Network, Sports Channel America, TBS, Fox Sports South, NHK, TNT Sports, SPEED Channel, FOX, NBC and CBS.
Sheheen's on air experience has not been limited to just television, having also worked on the biggest racing radio networks in the country PRN, MRN and the Indy Radio Network. He has also spent many hours broadcasting races over the PA at many of the world's most famous tracks including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Infineon Raceway to name a few.
Some of the broadcasting highlights for Ralph include being the Play-by-Play host for the first ever live broadcasts of such major events as the NHRA's U.S. Nationals, the World of Outlaws Knoxville Nationals, and the AMA's Supercross Series. Sheheen was also a part of the CBS Sports broadcast crew for one of the biggest days in the history of NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s victory in the famed Daytona 500.
He has also spent time behind the camera as the owner of a television production company. His companies RBJ Productions and Chrome Flame Productions have produced motorsports coverage for such networks as ESPN and SPEED Channel.