Dodge Viper Cup Championship heats up
College Station, Tex., September 3, 2011 – Texas is in the midst of a record-setting drought and today set another all-time record for the number of days above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, A.J. Morgan broke his personal three-race dry spell and heated up the Dodge Viper Cup championship with a victory at Texas World Speedway in College Station tightened the championship standings.
Morgan qualified second to Championship leader Ben Keating, but grabbed the lead at the start by holding his Dodge Viper ACR-X outside Keating through two left-turns, which gave him the inside advantage for the turn three right-hander.
“We ran neck-and-neck through turns one and two and then I had an awesome run on him going into three,” said Morgan. “I took first and then saved the equipment, started gapping Ben and drove it home from there.”
Keating cut a tire late in the race and had to pit, losing a sure second place. He finished a minute-and-a-half back in eighth place, allowing Morgan and Courtney to move closer to him in the series standings.
Texan Eric Galerne started sixth but quickly moved to fourth and chased down Courtney, passing him with a lap to go, but then couldn’t hold the position.
“We have been struggling all weekend with front-end grip,” said Courtney, “and anytime I tried to push, it just made the front tires go off and I had to back out of it and wait for them to come back.”
He had enough tire left to make a final run at Galerne and get his second place back.
“This was my first podium in the series,” said Galerne. “My best up to now was a fourth at Pocono last year. I’m going to try for another good finish tomorrow (Round Four, Race 2). I have a lot of laps at this track, so I feel like I can do well here.”
Kurt Sollberger qualified and finished fourth, while David Mazyck drove quickly and consistently to fifth place, one of his best results in the series. He was followed by first-time Viper Cup driver Don Porr in Ben Keating’s #32 Dodge Viper ACR-X.
Todd Nelson started fifth, but came around in last place after the opening lap. He fought back to seventh at the end after duking it out with Michael von Quilich along the way.
Celebrity drivers Dar Holdsworth, a custom motorcycle builder, and music producer Jim Johnsin ran together, swapping positions for most of the race before both had off-track excursions near the end.
“The tires were heating up because I wasn’t driving as clean as I would like, so I lost grip and hit the rumble strip on the exit of Turn Four and went around,” said Holdsworth, who was competing in his first-ever car race.
The next Dodge Viper Cup race is tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, September 4, at TWS.