Tooele, Utah (May 16, 2009) – Utah’s snowcapped Wasatch Mountains provided a perfect background for the SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup cars as they took to the track Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park. Saturday’s action on the 10-turn, 2.183 mile circuit included practice and qualifying for Sunday’s race, which begins at 11:40 am ET/9:40 am MT.
In the first practice session, some of the frontrunners from the series opening weekend at VIR again continued their success, with Timmy Megenbier, of Melrose Park, Ill., taking the top position with a time of 1:42.665 (75.548 mph) in the ChicagolandVW.com car. Vancouver’s Jake Thompson, who won Round Two, and Philadelphia’s Derek Jones rounded out the top three spots in practice.
“Today was a really good day for me because we were quick right from the start. I really didn’t expect it to happen that soon, since I haven’t raced here before,” Megenbier said. “Jake (Thompson) and I battled for the top spots today in practice and qualifying, and I expect more of the same tomorrow.”
The qualifying session closely resembled practice, except it was Thompson putting his ViON car on the pole for Sunday’s race, with the best time of the weekend, a 1:41.746 (77.239 mph). Megenbier was close behind and will also start from the front row, his second front-row start in three races. Puebla, Mexico’s Juan Pablo Sierra Lendle will start third, his best grid position of the season.
“I cut a tire this morning in practice, so I was a little concerned about tire management when I went out in qualifying,” Thompson said. “So, I took a little bit different approach during the session and went easy in the beginning to find some good spacing and protect my tires. I think that conservative approach allowed me to run my fastest time on my first hot lap. When I saw the time, I knew that I couldn’t top it, so I brought the car in to save the tires for tomorrow. This track is really well suited for our cars, so I’m expecting a good battle tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it two in-a-row.”
Friday evening, this weekend’s guest drivers hit the track for a training session with the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup instructors. US Speedskating team member, Anthony Lobello and Miller Motorsports Park Director of Business Development, Bryan Miller were both impressed with the speed, handling and performance of the clean diesel-powered racecars. Lobello used his session as preparation in hopes of competing in a series race later in the season. Miller is a full participant in this weekend’s event and will take the green flag in tomorrow’s race after qualifying in the 24th position.
“This has been quite the learning experience for me so far,” said Miller. “While the series regulars might not have yet reached the top level of professional racing, there is some great talent in this series, and I feel privileged to be able to run alongside them this weekend. I’m happy that I kept the car on the track for the most part today, and I’m hoping to do the same tomorrow in the race and finish with a respectable result.”
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series returns to action tomorrow at 11:40 am ET at Miller Motorsports Park for Round Three of the season. Live timing and scoring is available here.