Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 26 February 2010 00:00
After competing in qualifying rounds with hundreds of drivers from around the country, Michael Mineo-Nardacci, the East Hills-based race car driver, is set to take off as one of the 25 drivers in the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup.
The Volkswagen-operated spec racing series will fly the green flag on its SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned events beginning April 23 at Virginia International Raceway and continuing to Sept. 26 at a raceway in Puebla, Mexico.
Michael will be competing with drivers from across the U.S., plus those from Jamaica, Canada, and Mexico. Michael is the only driver in the Cup series to hail from New York State.
Qualifying for the coveted position in the Jetta Cup was the culmination of a process that took Michael from racing events in Boston to Las Vegas, where only last week he was chosen as one of the top 25 drivers.
In Boston, Michael competed with up to 600 drivers at a racing challenge just to make it to the final qualifying round in Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, he competed with 100 other finalists for the final 25 spots. The competition included three days of intense time qualifiers. All of the drivers, according to Volkswagen officials, were evaluated through a variety of on- and off-track scenarios to establish skill level and overall ability. The final 25 drivers were chosen at the conclusion of skills-based driving activities, physical fitness tests, media training, and an in-depth sponsorship workshop from Townsend Bell, a veteran of the 2009 Indianapolis 500.
Michael and his fellow competitors will race in 10 Jetta TDI Cup events on seven road courses throughout the United States and Mexico. All of the cars, Volkswagen officials note, are identical, factory-prepared and maintained Jetta TDIs running on clean diesel fuel. The series champion will win $100,000 toward career development support from Volkswagen. Other competing drivers will earn a Pro Racing license from SCCA.
The TDI Cup schedule for this year is as follows:
Round 1 and 2: April 23 – 25, Virginia International Raceway, Alton, VA
Round 3, May 9, New Jersey Motorsports Park, Millville, NJ.
Round 4, June 5 – 6, Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, UT.
Round 5, July 18 – 20, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, OH.
Round 6, July 30 – Aug. 1, Autobahn Country Club, Joliet, IL.
Round 7 and 8, Aug. 20 – 22, Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.
Round 9 and 10, Sept. 24 – 26, Autodromo AMOZOC, Puebla, Mexico.
“Our third year for the Jetta TDI Cup is already shaping up to be the best one yet,” said Clark Campbell, Motorsport manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “We were given the extremely difficult task of selecting only 25 drivers from a such diverse group of individuals who, honestly, all deserve the chance to compete. With 16 new drivers and nine more returning from previous seasons, the field is undoubtedly set for top-notch competition and racing excitement.”
Michael’s success in both Boston and Las Vegas solidifies his standing as one of the outstanding young racing drivers in the country. In past events, he has out-qualified 75 percent of his challengers, a percentage he upheld in both Boston and Las Vegas. Michael is a veteran of SCCA and PCA (Porsche) events.
Michael is also looking for sponsorship for his ride. The sponsor’s name and/or logo will be prominently displayed on Michael’s assigned VW TDI Jetta and acknowledged in promotional materials during the season.
A graduate of Wheatley High School, Michael recently graduated from Hofstra with a degree in Finance. Michael has been racing at competitions throughout Long Island since he was a youngster. When he earned his driver’s license, he began competing in auto cross races on the Island and in the Northeast and now he is set to make an even bigger mark on the racing world.
To learn more about the 2010 Jetta TDI Cup, visit www.volkswagenjettacup.com.