Ben Keating Moves Closer to the Dodge Viper Cup Presented by Pennzoil Ultra Title with a Round 9 Win at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Fla., October 22, 2011 – Ben Keating put hot shoe Dominik Farnbacher into his second Dodge Viper ACR-X at Daytona as apparent insurance in his quest for the Dodge Viper Cup championship. But Keating imposed no team orders and Farnbacher responded by qualifying on the pole and finishing first on the track. He lost in the post-race tech inspection though, handing the win to Keating, who had finished second on the track.
The win extended Keating’s lead in the Dodge Viper Cup championship going into the final race, Round 10, on Sunday. A.J. Morgan took second place ahead of Jeff Courtney and both drivers are still alive for the title, but need a miracle to overtake Keating, who now has a 54-point lead with a maximum of 70 available in the final round.
Farnbacher shot away from the pack at the start, but Keating closed up by the end of lap one and the two drivers built a comfortable margin back to Morgan, who was closely pursued by Courtney. Celebrity driver Craig Stanton qualified third, ahead of the two drivers, but hesitated at the standing start, letting them by.
Eric Galerne was caught out by Stanton and spent the rest of the race catching up, passing Dave Fiorelli entering the infield Horshoe turn late in the race. Fiorelli immediately came back at him in the middle of the turn, but Galerne held the position.
Ahead of them was Todd Nelson, who qualified ninth and mounted his own charge to the front.
Seventeen-year-old Canadian Louis-Phillippe “L-P” Montour was sensational in his Viper Cup debut, driving a brand new ACR-X as his father Marc’s teammate. “He started driving in a snowmobile at age 5,” said the elder Montour. “It had a 100-horsepower engine,” he added with a gleam in his eye. “It taught him how to counter-steer in a slide.” L-P graduated to a Porsche 944 and then started learning the 640-horsepower ACR-X, coached by none other than Kuno Witmer.
L-P qualified well, but the new car failed post-qualifying tech inspection. “Still settling on its suspension,” according to his father. Montour was penalized to the back of the field, but fought his way all the way up to seventh on the road. Farnbacher’s disqualification promoted him to sixth place.
NHRA Mopar Pro Stock competitor Allen Johnson took the wheel of one of Cindi Lux’s Dodge Viper ACR-Xs for the third time as a Celebrity Driver. He is rapidly getting the hang of road racing and reduced his lap times by several seconds each session and is now running as fast as more than half the field and within three seconds of a podium time. A breakthrough could be in the offing on Sunday for the winner of nine NHRA Nationals so far.
The Dodge Viper Cup Presented by Pennzoil Ultra championship wraps up Sunday afternoon in Round 10.
|Pos||Car #||First||Laps||Total Time||Best Time|
|2||59||A. J. Morgan||10||20:21.554|
|12||19||Michael von Quilich||10||21:20.984||1:56.222|