A.J. Morgan Wins Dodge Viper Cup Race 1 at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Millville, NJ, Saturday June 11, 2011 – Ben Keating, Jeff Courtney and A.J. Morgan qualified within 4 tenths of each other this morning, setting up a very competitive Dodge Viper Cup Race Presented by Pennzoil this afternoon at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Pole sitter Keating led from the start, closely followed by Courtney and Morgan in a rousing fight almost to the finish. With three laps to go and Courtney pressuring Keating, there was contact and both went off, no fault to either.
"I feel bad for both Ben and our guys as we had a great car and we were battling for 1st and 2nd at the time late in the race,” said a disappointed Courtney.
Keating was able to get going again, but had to stop to replace a cut-down tire, putting him a lap down. Morgan managed to avoid the melee and inherit the lead, while Courtney was done for the day.
Morgan finished nearly half a minute clear of second place man Dave Fiorelli, who was in a fight with Michael Von Quilich. They finished three tenths apart. Guest Driver Andy Bell was fourth, just ahead of Billy Gropp, who was charging back from his own problems, including an off-track excursion.
“I’ve never sat in a Dodge Viper before,” said Bell, a professional freestyle motocross rider and holder of nine Guinness World Records. “It’s an absolute beast out there. One misstep with your foot and you’re doing 360s -- there’s just that much torque and horsepower. And it’s so much fun. I mean; you’re just getting slammed back in your seat as you’re accelerating out of corners. I’ve seen people saying on my Twitter and Facebook, ‘Hey, we love Viper Cup, we’re coming out to watch’.”
Guest Driver Jimmy Kite, a veteran Indy Car, USAC sprint car and NASCAR driver finished seventh, less than three tenths of a second behind Todd Nelson. Keating recovered to eighth place just tenths of a second ahead of David Mazyck while Courtney was tenth, three laps down.
The weekend hasn’t been easy so far, according to Morgan, “We were dealing with pretty sizable understeer, and we couldn’t get it out of the car. So we put on those stiffer springs, and that helped out a lot. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have to see what we can do to improve the car. It’s not over yet.”
The second Dodge Viper Cup race—the fourth of the ten-race series—is on Sunday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Dodge Viper Cup
New Jersey Motorsports Park Race 1 - Saturday June 11
|Pos||Car No.||Name||Best Time||Laps||Difference||Total Time|
|3||19||Michael Von Quilich||01:27.658||18||27.960||27:35.070|
|8||32||Ben Keating||01:25.949||17||1 Lap||27.44.405|
|9||3||David Mazyck||01:32.289||17||1 Lap||27:44.561|
|10||99||Jeff Courtney||01:25.770||15||3 Laps||22:39.585|