News & Notes: Volkswagen Motorsports Manager, Campbell, on the First Half of the 2010 Season "This year's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is certainly the most exciting we've seen since the Series' inception in 2008," said Clark Campbell, Motorsports...
News & Notes:
Volkswagen Motorsports Manager, Campbell, on the First Half of the 2010 Season
"This year's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is certainly the most exciting we've seen since the Series' inception in 2008," said Clark Campbell, Motorsports Manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We've had four different race winners in the first five events and there are five rookies in the top-ten in the Championship point standings. Our goal for the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is to develop young, up-and-coming talent, while demonstrating the benefits of clean diesel technology to the US market. I think we're definitely headed in the right direction and I can't wait to see how the second half of the year unfolds."
Tight Points Race Heading to Joliet
A mere 28 points separate the top five drivers in the 2010 Championship point standings heading into next weekend's event at Autobahn Country Club. Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle is the current points leader; and has earned one victory, one pole and three podium appearances in the year's first five events. Rookie Arie Ouimet sits just six points behind Sierra Lendle in second place. Ouimet has earned two podium results and three top-four finishes in the past three events and he's currently the Series' hottest driver. With a streak like that, it's not out of the question that we could have a new points leader heading out of Joliet.
The battle for the lead isn't the only one going on in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup field; only 51 points separate fifth-tenth place and with 60 points available to the driver that notches the victory, things can change very quickly.
2010 Season By the Numbers
We're halfway through the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup season, and with four race winners in five events, you could definitely say the competition is tight. Of those four drivers, three of them captured their first-ever Series victory this season -- Ryan Ellis won the pair of season-opening races at VIRginia International Raceway, Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle won in New Jersey and rookie Wyatt Gooden won at Mid-Ohio; Jake Thompson was the only previous winner as he earned victories in Virginia and New Jersey in 2009 (this year he won in Utah). Another thing to note is that the polesitter has won four of the five races in 2010 (Gooden is the only winner not to have started from the pole -- he started second in Mid-Ohio on the way to his victory).
A total of twelve drivers have earned top-five appearances to date (Sierra Lendle, Thompson and Gooden lead the Series with three) and four different drivers have set the fastest race lap in an event this season. While current points leader Sierra Lendle has led 34 of the 80 laps run in competition (43%), five other drivers have combined to lead the other 46 laps. And lastly, this season to date, there have been a total of 308 passes for position among the Series' 25 drivers; rookie Jenna Wagner and JD Mobley are at the top of the "pass chart" as they've both made an astounding 23 passes to gain position in the first half of the season.
Nine Veterans Return to Autobahn Country Club
This season, there are nine drivers returning to the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup from last year, including four drivers who finished in the top-ten at Autobahn Country Club in 2009. Last year, Andrew Cordeiro finished fourth, Jake Thompson finished sixth, Taylor Broekemeier finished seventh and JD Mobley finished tenth at the 3.56-mile road course. AJ Nealey was one spot shy of the top-ten as he brought his car home in 11th; right behind him were Ryan Ellis and 2010 Championship points leader Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle finishing 12th and 13th respectively. Juan Pablo Delgado finished 15th and Andrew Novich finished 24th after being knocked out of the race on lap seven after suffering tire damage.
Local Driver Taylor Tzouanakis Set for Hometown Race
When the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup heads to Autobahn Country Club next weekend, one driver will be less than 50 miles away from his hometown. Taylor Tzouanakis, a resident of Wauconda, Ill is making his debut in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup this season and will no doubt be looking for a trip to Victory Lane in his home state.
Tzouanakis received a go-kart for his ninth birthday and he's been racing ever since. In 2006, Tzouanakis began competing in indoor go-karts, where he earned two different Championships and over 40 race wins. In 2007, he moved into the Rotax Mini Max Class and then moved up again the next year into the Rotax Junior Class.
In 2009, Tzouanakis won the MRP South Bend Rotax Junior Class Championship after winning six of 11 events. He also finished second in the US Rotax Max Challenge National point standings. Tzouanakis would also compete in the Florida Winter Tour in the Rotax Junior Class, earning a best finish of fourth at the Ocala Grand Prix.
Tzouanakis is using the opportunity of competing in the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series as a way to improve his racing skills in hopes of evolving into a better driver, elevating him through the ranks to a premier open-wheel 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.
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup program is an ideal way for students interested in a career in motorsports to learn about the industry and it provides them with the advantage of real-world experience before they enter the workplace.