ALTON, VA (April 26, 2009) – Heading into the 2009 SCCA Pro Racing Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup season, eight drivers had previous experience in the series. However, for the second time this weekend, a series rookie took the checkered flag with Vancouver, Canada’s Jake Thompson coming out on top today in the No. 19 ViON car at VIRginia International Raceway.
Thompson, the 2004 Canadian National Karting Champion, took the lead on lap three from pole sitter Timmy Megenbier who retired on the last lap with mechanical issues. For the last half of the race, Thompson battled bumper-to-bumper with Mark Pombo, but never relinquished the lead. Pombo placed second and Taylor Broekemeier finished third.
For Thompson, the win was redemption for Saturday’s race, which he led at one point.
“Yesterday, when I found myself in the lead, I was nervous and made a mistake, so that experience definitely helped me learn to handle myself a little better under pressure. Pombo was all over me for the last half of the race, but I was able to keep my composure and hold him off,” said Thompson. “I’ve competed in karting for many years, but this is my first experience in cars, so to get a win in only my second race of the season is fantastic. I’m really glad that I landed in the Jetta TDI Cup because the emphasis that the series puts on driver development will hopefully help me to continue to grow in my racing career.”
Guest drivers, journalist, Dan Carney and Halifax, Virginia’s Jeb Burton finished 21st and 23rd respectively. Burton was involved in an on-track incident with the No. 22 car, which sent him off-course and to the rear of the field. Despite being frustrated with his result, Burton was positive about his experience.
“Being able to participate in the Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series this weekend was a lot of fun for me. I’ve not done a lot of road-course racing in the past, so it was great to be able to get a little bit of experience,” Burton said. “Obviously, I’m frustrated, but I think that with a little more seat time in these cars and on road courses, I could be competitive. Hopefully, I’ll be able to give it another shot down the road.”
After two rounds of the Jetta TDI Cup, the championship standings have the winner of yesterday’s race at VIR, Joey Atterbury and Jake Thompson tied for the lead with 43 points. AJ Nealey (41), Pombo (40) and Taylor Broekemeier (37) round out the top five.
“The inaugural race weekend of the Jetta TDI Cup absolutely proved our concept that Volkswagen clean diesel technology, young drivers and a top-level crew produces some of the best racing available anywhere in North America,” said Clark Campbell, motorsport manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “If the talent level displayed this weekend at VIR is any indication as to how the rest of the season is going to go, it’s going to be a very exciting sophomore season.”
The Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series returns to action May 15-17 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.