June 11, 2010
U.S. Snowboardcross Team standout J.J. Tomlinson refuses to sit idly by until next season. He’d rather sit in top gear.
The 18-year-old former Park City Snowboard Team athlete took part in last weekend’s Jetta TDI Cup at Miller Motorsports Park, racing against some of the nation’s other elite drivers in a 10-race series launched in 2008 to introduce clean diesel technology to the U.S. while developing top young racing talent.
Jetta TDI Cup cars are powered by 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. They are only slightly modified from stock cars, and despite little experience outside of kart racing, Tomlinson started the race in 25th position and moved up three sports to 22nd.
Unlike "guest drivers" Anthony Lobello (Olympic speed skater), Grete Elliassen (pro skier) and Roger Lee Hayden (motorcycle racer), Tomlinson is a full-time rookie in the 10-race series, and thus will earn a license from SCCA Pro Racing after the season.
Drivers between the ages of 16 and 26 are eligible for the series, which puts more than $50,000 in prize money up for grabs while awarding factory support to the champion estimated at a worth of $100,000.
The race in Tooele was won by Canadian pole-sitter Jake Thompson – his third of his career.
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Tomlinson, a Winter Sports School senior, will start the World Cup season in September, when he’ll join two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott and five-time X Games champion Nate Holland on the U.S. Team.
Standing 6-foot-3, 195 pounds, Tomlinson has a love for all things fast and dangerous. He once skateboarded in the competitive Tony Hawk Tour with legends from his childhood, and recently injured his ankle in a motocross accident.
June 20 marks the next Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup event, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.