Ben Keating Makes it Two in a Row
Alton, Va., Saturday July 9, 2011 – Ben Keating continued his dominance of the Dodge Viper Cup series by taking the pole by nearly one-and-a-half seconds and leading all the way to the race victory. Jeff Courtney qualified on the front row, but let Ted Hughes through into second after a bad start. He was back ahead of Hughes by lap two, but by that time Keating was a hundred yards ahead and flying.
Courtney pecked away at Keating’s lead each lap, but was too far back and never got close enough to challenge. He finished second, but had the race’s fastest lap. Hughes held position the rest of the way and gained his first podium finish.
“I got a good start,” said Keating, “But Ted got a great start, and tucked in behind me going into the first corner and that gave me a little bit of margin ahead of Jeff. I got ahead by three and a half seconds and I was able to manage that. He was a second and a half behind at the end, which was enough.”
Two-time race winner A. J. Morgan had electrical gremlins in the morning practice session and was unable to qualify, so he had to start the race from the last row.
“We had a shorted wire in the system and it took three hours to find and fix it,” said Morgan. “Then we had to go out and take a hardship lap just to shake everything down, make sure it worked, and right after that went up to the grid and went out and ran [the race]. There was no time to rest. That was tough. I have nothing left in me.”
Morgan passed six cars on the first lap, crossing the start-finish line in 10th-place. From there he marched up the order, passing two more ViperACR-Xs on the third lap and ending the race in fourth place after passing Dave Fiorelli three laps from the end. Fiorelli scored his second straight fifth place finish.
Eric Galerne, in sixth place, had one of his best results since starting the series. Connie Bogan, too, had a good result with a seventh, while Brian Makse, one of the two celebrity drivers brought his Viper ACR-X in eighth. Chris Burandt, the other celebrity driver, finished 16th.
“It was frickin’ awesome,” said Burandt. “I got behind the Number 3 car [driven by David Mazyck] and we just had a battle all day. At the start I got into turn one way too hot and I didn’t look at the corner, I just looked at Number 3’s bumper saying ‘uh oh, uh oh.’ So much fun.”
“I was just focused on keeping Chris behind me,” said Mazyck. “He was all over me. There were six of us all within tenths of each other in qualifying [Brad Gorrondona, Larry Carter, Brian Makse, Bernie Katz, Mazyck and Chris Burandt in that order qualified at 2 minutes, two seconds and change], so we were looking forward to the race, but guys ahead of us were spinning and that gapped us.”
“Just fantastic,” said Makse, “I was just clicking off laps, kind of lost from the cars in front, but made sure the cars behind stayed behind.”
Keating extended his lead after five rounds, the halfway point, in the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup Series Presented by Pennzoil.
Dodge Viper Cup race six is Sunday afternoon at Virginia International Raceway
Follow the Dodge Viper Cup Presented by Pennzoil Ultra at www.ViperHeadquarters.com
Dodge Viper Cup
Virginia International Raceway Race 1 (Round 5) – Saturday, July 9, 2011
|Pos||Car No.||Name||Best Time||Laps||Difference|
|14||19||Michael von Quilich||2:01.159||11||1:19.280|
|17||26||Marc Montour||2:01.329||10||1 Lap|
|18||90||Brad Gorrondona||2:04.009||10||1 Lap|