VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI CUP DRIVERS TAKE TO THE TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2009 AT VIR Atterbury and Megenbier to sit on the poles for Rounds 1 & 2 at VIR Alton, VA (April 24, 2009) -- Picture-perfect conditions at VIRginia International...
VOLKSWAGEN JETTA TDI CUP DRIVERS TAKE TO THE TRACK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 2009 AT VIR
Atterbury and Megenbier to sit on the poles for Rounds 1 & 2 at VIR
Alton, VA (April 24, 2009) -- Picture-perfect conditions at VIRginia International Raceway provided an ideal setting for the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series to hit the track today for the first action of the 2009 season. Today's schedule included an open practice and a qualifying session for each of the two races that will take place at the track this weekend on the 3.27-mile road course.
The first practice session started off as followers of the series might expect with the winner of the 2008 race at VIR, Mark Pombo, at the top of the speed charts in the #20 Volkswagen Parts & Accessories car sponsored by Fresh From Florida and Heal. However, the Duluth, Ga. native encountered problems in the first qualifying session when he carried too much speed into turn 11 and made contact with the tire barrier, which ended his session. However, a qualifying lap completed before the incident places him ninth on the grid for tomorrow's race.
The qualifying session for the first race saw rookie Joey Atterbury of Renton, Wa. take the pole with his last lap of the qualifying session. Atterbury topped AJ Nealey of Pasadena, Md. by less than a tenth of a second.
"It was great to get out on the track today. It's been a couple of months since driver selection at Infineon Raceway, so I definitely was looking forward to it. The car was a lot of fun to drive here at VIR, and I was really pleased with the performance of the Jetta TDI Cup car," said Atterbury. "Obviously, I'm really happy with the fact that I'll be starting from the pole position for tomorrow's race, but I know that there are going to be a lot of guys behind me trying to take that position away from me. The key tomorrow is going to be staying out of trouble, so hopefully I'll be able to do that and bring home a win in our first race."
Timmy Megenbier of Melrose Park, Ill. used experience gained competing in the series in 2008 to capture the pole during the second qualifying session. His lap time of 2:13.574 set a new track record for the series at VIR. Megenbier will start from the front of the grid for Sunday's race in the #17 ChicagolandVW.com car sponsored by Caputo.
"I qualified fifth for our first race, but it was really hot on the track, which made things a little difficult. However, it cooled off for the second qualifying session, and I put on a new set of Pirelli tires, which gave me incredible grip. I also have to thank Mark Pombo for a great draft coming down the straight, which allowed me to post a great time," Megenbier said. "Obviously, I'm really happy with the result. In my opinion, it's more important to start from the front in the second race since most people will be trying to preserve their cars in the first race. I expect things to be a little more hectic in the second race, so it will be quite an advantage to start at the front."
Three guest drivers are competing this weekend at VIR, and all were able to post competitive times during the day's action. Freestyle skier, Simon Dumont qualified 25th for Saturday's race. Meanwhile, South Boston's Jeb Burton qualified 22nd, and journalist, Dan Carney qualified 24th for Sunday's race.
"I don't think we could have asked for anything more with our first action of the season. The weather was spectacular, the changes to our suspension and tire package really seemed to improve the car's grip, and the drivers did very well in their first day on the track. Our guest drivers also did really well given they had no prior experience in our racecars." said Clark Campbell, motorsport manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "Tomorrow is going to be really exciting, and I think it's fitting that we'll be crowning our first winner of 2009 on our home track."
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series returns to action tomorrow at 11:10 am at VIR for Round One of the season. Round Two will take place at VIR on Sunday, April 26 at 2 pm. Live timing and scoring is available at www.livetiming.net/SCCA/VW/livetiming.asp.