Shane Lewis completes weekend sweep at Virginia International Raceway.
Shane Lewis made it a weekend sweep in SRT Viper Cup Series competition Sunday at Virginia International Raceway with his second win in as many days.
Shane Lewis made it a weekend sweep in SRT Viper Cup Series competition Sunday at Virginia International Raceway with his second win in as many days. Lewis took advantage of Tommy Kendall's misfortune on the final lap to capture the victory.
Lewis and Kendall were the celebrity entries for the weekend driving Viper ACR-X's prepared by Cindi Lux and the Lux Performance Group.
Both Lewis and Kendall started at the back of the field Sunday as the grid was set in reverse order of Saturday's finish. Kendall had mechanical problems Saturday and did not complete 75 percent of the laps, so he didn't have the advantage of the inversion.
Kendall grabbed the race lead at the halfway mark of the 35-minute timed event and was in command when the field took the white flag to start the 18th lap around the 3.270-mile, 17-turn course. However, all was not well inside the cockpit.
"We started running out of fuel with three to go," said Kendall. "I didn't know how long it would go before it ran out, so I was short shifting and to make up for it, I was really driving hard on the brakes, really using the tires which were 35-minutes old. I dumped the wheel on the outside (Turn 14) and did a spin. I lost about as little ground as you could do but I'm still very disappointed.
"I'm pleased with 99 percent of the race today, but the only lap that pays is the last one. It's hard not to be disappointed. We were close to a perfect weekend. I had a pole, Shane won yesterday and we were looking for a win today. I'm rusty. That's what happens when you don't drive every weekend. It was a perfect weekend for Lux Performance. Shane was there to pick up the pieces today. I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't disappointed."
While Kendall was disappointed, Lewis was a bit shocked with the outcome as he had issues with the heat and had slowed during the middle part of the race.
"Today, I had to really, really work for it. Two goals – keep the car clean, I didn't want to put a scratch on the car, and with track temperatures this hot, I was determined to take care of the equipment and the tires. At one point, I actually backed out to conserve the car a little bit. I was hoping the leaders would come to me and they sure did. The strategy paid off and we brought home a victory."
The temperature had reached 101 when the field took the green flag just past 2 p.m.
"It's the hottest track temperatures I've ever run at," said Lewis. "Every driver here did an awesome job. It's a testament to the Viper. Any other car would have overheated, blown up, but this car ran flawless. Starting from the back, I just tried to pace it. I was ready to settle for third and then Jim and Tommy had problems."
Jim Booth, the early race leader, also had fuel issues but finished second. "I was P2 behind Kendall, but having a fuel issue and lost the spot to Shane just before Kendall spun," he said. "On the downhill, it picked up the fuel again and I sputtered to the finish. I'm happy, P7 to P2, I'll take that any time. I had some inspiration out in front of me in Kendall and Lewis. I drove to a level I haven't driven before…the results speak to that."
Another driver having a banner day was Louis-Philippe Montour who finished fourth. "It was the most exciting race of my life," said Montour. I was patient. This is awesome."
Although Ben Keating's winning streak was snapped at four, he still has a comfortable lead in the season standings with four races remaining. "It was a good race, a very close race which made it fun, said Keating. "It was unbelievable hot. About three or four laps into the race, I looked down and my engine was pegged in red, overheating. At the time I was in fourth. I just decided the smartest thing to do was back off, get the best finish I could instead of a DNF and a blown engine. I was able to get third. That's great. I'm happy. It was a good race."
The SRT Viper Cup Series presented by Pennzoil Ultra consists of two events at each of five hosts tracks. Tomorrow's finale at VIR will be a 35-minute timed event.
Race Results SRT Viper Cup Series presented by Pennzoil Ultra Virginia International Raceway Saturday, July 8, 2012
Points Standing (After 6 of 10 events)