JOLIET, Ill., July 31 - Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup rookie, Kevin Gleason, earned his first career pole this afternoon after leading the field with a lap of 2:46.455 (75.696 mph) making him the fifth different polesitter in the first six races of the 2010 season.
"This morning we had some rain, so I made sure to take it easy during the first practice session," said Gleason after qualifying. "The track conditions weren't ideal, so I just stayed patient and focused on learning the course. After practice, I took the extra time to really study the circuit and meet with the driving instructors. During qualifying this afternoon, I could tell my strategy really paid off. I kept getting quicker and quicker and then at the end, I was able to lay down a really solid lap. I'm really excited to have earned my first Series pole. One of my sponsors, Citation Clinical Labeling Systems, is having an employee event here at Autobahn this weekend and to be able to win the pole in front of all of them makes this even more special."
JD Mobley turned the second-fastest lap of the day with a time of 2:46.786 and rookie Wyatt Gooden recorded the third quickest lap (2:46.792) of the day. Chris Wehrheim and AJ Nealey round out the top-five for tomorrow's race.
Round Six of the 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup continues tomorrow at Autobahn Country Club when the green flag drops at 9:50 a.m. ET.
Jetta TDI Cup News & Notes:
Parity Across The Field
One of the main goals of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup is to provide the most level playing field possible for all 25 of its drivers as they set their sights on the 2010 Series Championship. Not only is each of the Jetta TDI Cup cars prepared to the exact same specifications as one another, but also strategic measures are taken to insure that the cars are identical. Once the cars hit the track, the effort to maintain parity continues - after the initial practice and qualifying sessions, one of the top-five drivers from the session is chosen to disclose their data from his/her fastest lap for analysis by all other competitors. Furthermore, periodically throughout the ten-race schedule, cars are interchanged between competitors to eliminate any sort of advantage.
Series engineers and instructors take every imaginable measure to provide a fair and even field of cars. The Series maintains a fleet of 34 racecars that are ready at all times. Exactly 50% of the Jetta TDI Cup cars have been driven to victory at the hands of 15 different drivers in the first 23 races of the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series' two-and-a-half year history, which certainly proves that parity is the name of the game in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup.
Illinois Driver Raises Money for Charity
Taylor Tzouanakis, an Illinois native, 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. Not only has the 17-year old Wauconda native been busy preparing for this weekend's event, but also earlier this week, Tzouanakis hosted a charity event to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. The cause is very close to his heart as Tzouanakis has a cousin, who is also involved in racing, who has been battling the disease for most of his life. The event was held at Lindy's Landing in Wauconda and raised nearly $2,000 for their cause. Tzouanakis is also expecting to have plenty of friends and family on-hand tomorrow, close to 35 people, to support him during Round Six of the Jetta TDI Cup.
Tzouanakis qualified 12th this afternoon, after posting a lap of 2:47.758 (75.108 mph).
Guest Drivers Get Up to Speed
This weekend, there are three guest drivers competing in Round Six of the 2010 season alongside the 25 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup drivers. The first is Richard Fisher, who is a founding member of the Autobahn Country Club and the owner of the Chicago-area Autobarn dealership group. His three Chicagoland Volkswagen stores include: The Autobarn VW of Evanston, The Autobarn VW of Mt. Prospect and The Autobarn VW of Countryside. The second guest driver is Jesse Will, a writer for Maxim Magazine and the third is Steve Hendricks, General Manager of Luther Westside VW in Minneapolis.
Each of the three has logged considerable track time, but Fisher definitely showed his skill today as he ranked the highest among the guest drivers as he turned the 17th-fastest lap overall at 2:48.504 (74.775 mph). Hendricks posted the 27th fastest and Will recorded the 28th fastest lap.
Follow the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup Series action on:
Volkswagen Online Newsroom: media.vw.com
Live Timing & Scoring: http://livetiming.net/scca/VW
Live Timing & Scoring for your Mobile Device: http://livetiming.net/SCCA/VW/html.asp
About the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup
The SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup was launched in 2008 as way to introduce clean diesel technology to the U.S. market and develop the best of motorsport's up-and-coming talent. During the season, young, up and coming drivers (between ages 16-26) compete on road courses around North America in identical factory-prepared clean diesel powered Jetta TDI's. Each driver competing in the Series earns a professional racing license from SCCA Pro Racing at the conclusion of the season. In addition to more than $50,000 in prize money at stake during the season, the Series Champion receives Volkswagen factory career advancement support with a value up to $100,000.
The Jetta TDI Cup car is powered by a 2.0-liter, 170 hp, four-cylinder TDI clean diesel engine mated to a six-speed, double-clutch, automatic DSG transmission. The car is only slightly modified from stock with Pirelli racing tires, race suspension and brake components, drivers racing safety seat, FIA roll cage and an on-board fire extinguisher system. Series sponsors include: Pirelli, Bosch, ViON, Castrol, Oakley, Red Bull, Staubli, Aggreko, defNder, Lamin-X, Volkswagen Driver Gear, Volkswagen Parts & Service, iRacing, Safety-Kleen and Ringer Gloves.
About Volkswagen of America
Founded in 1955, Volkswagen of America, Inc. is headquartered in Herndon, Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is one of the world's largest producers of passenger cars and Europe's largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Golf, GTI, New Beetle, New Beetle convertible, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Eos, Passat, Passat Wagon, CC, Tiguan, Touareg and Routan through approximately 600 independent U.S. dealers. All 2010 Volkswagens come standard-equipped with Electronic Stabilization Program. This is important because the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called ESC the most effective new vehicle safety technology since the safety belt.
About SCCA Pro Racing:
A wholly owned subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America, Inc., SCCA Pro Racing Inc. is a leading sanctioning body for motorsports events in the United States. A member of the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS), SCCA Pro Racing operates and sanctions the World Challenge Championships, the SCCA Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup, SCCA Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup, SCCA Pro Trans-Am Series, Spec Racer Ford Pro Series and Formula Enterprises Pro Series. For more information, please visit www.sccapro.com