SRT VIPER CUP SERIES VISITS VIRGINIA INT’L RACEWAY THIS WEEKEND
Texan Ben Keating Unbeaten This Season; Will Miss Friday Practice
July 5, 2012 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Wednesday, July 4, 2012) – The SRT Viper Cup Series presented by Pennzoil Ultra visits popular Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Va., this weekend, the third stop on the 2012 schedule. Regarded as one of the best road-course facilities in America, drivers will compete on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn full course.
Texan Ben Keating has launched his quest for a second consecutive SRT Viper Cup Series championship in impressive fashion. He’s unbeaten after stops at Road Atlanta and Road America – four wins. Drivers get a pair of chances this weekend to derail Keating’s march to the championship. Two races are on the schedule — a 25-minute timed event on Saturday and a 35-minute timed event on Sunday. Teams qualify for starting spots in Saturday’s race while Sunday’s field is set in reverse order of the finish from the previous day.
Keating is anxious to return to VIR. “It’s my favorite race track in the country and there are some great race tracks around,” he said. “It’s just a fun place to race. It has so many incredible elements. It’s a safe track. You can relax and have fun.”
The six 30-minute practice sessions scheduled for Friday may provide his competitors an opportunity for an upset, especially on Saturday. Keating has another commitment and will not be at VIR on Friday. Instead, he will arrive in time for one practice session on Saturday in his No. 33 ViperExchange.com Viper ACR-X before qualifying and the first race of the weekend.
“The weekend is going to be interesting for me as I won’t be at the track on Friday,” said Keating. “Racing other people that have had a full day of practice is going to be a little different ballgame. I’ll get up to speed by Sunday for sure. I don’t know if I can get it done with one practice session on Saturday before qualifying and the race.”
Keating isn’t totally unarmed. His second car will be driven by Bernie Katz during the weekend. It’s a good bet Katz will log plenty of track time on Friday and have valuable information for his teammate when he does arrive at the track.
Who does Keating expect to provide the toughest challenge? “Everybody in the race after drivers get that full day of practice on Friday,” he said. He also points to David Mazyck, an Associate Professor at the University of Florida. “I don’t know what he’s done, but he’s shown great improvement,” Keating said. “He qualifies well and runs well, much better this year than the last couple of years. It’s very impressive. He’s come a long way. The more practice he gets up there at the front of the field, the better his race craft becomes as well.”
Keating holds a 99-point lead over Jim Booth with Mazyck in third, 110 points back. Dave Pintaric returns to competition this weekend with a new ride. His car was damaged beyond repair in a mishap during the Saturday race at Road America.
The series features the 2010 Dodge Viper ACR-X – the special-edition model of America’s ultimate sports car. The series, formerly the Dodge Viper Cup Series, is entering its third year of competition. The event is sanctioned by the North America Road Racing Association (NARRA). After this weekend’s visit to VIR, the series travels to Monticello (N.Y.) Motor Club and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International to complete the 10-race series.
The popular celebrity driver program is back this season. Set to battle at VIR this weekend are drivers with plenty of road racing experience – Tommy Kendall and Shane Lewis. Their winnings will be donated directly to the official charity of the series – the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
“We are exceedingly grateful to the SRT brand for selecting the National Breast Cancer Coalition as the official charity for its SRT Viper Cup Series in 2012,” said Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition. “These grassroots racing efforts play an important role in helping bring more national attention and support to Breast Cancer Deadline 2020®, our strategic plan of action to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020.”
Entry List Car No. Driver City 3 David Mazyck Gainesville, Fla. 7 Louis-Philippe Montour Saint-Donat, Quebec 8 Jim Booth Charleston, S.C. 22 Tim Hund Norfolk, Va. 26 Marc Montour Blainville, Quebec 32 Bernie Katz Tomball, Texas 33 Ben Keating Port Lavaca, Texas 40 David Pintaric Canfield, Ohio 84 Kurt Sollberger Dana Point, Calif. 86 Ross Murray Marina del Ray, Calif.
- 52 Tommy Kendall New Smyrna, Fla.
- 53 Shane Lewis Jupiter, Fla.
Point Standings SRT Viper Cup Series (After 4 of 10 events)
- Ben Keating 248
- Jim Booth -99
- David Mazyck -110
- Louis-Philippe Montour -116
- Kurt Solberger -128
- David Pintaric -130
- Marc Montour -136
- Jeff Courtney -155
- Trevor Nelson -170
- Todd Nelson -186
Weekend Schedule (All times local) Friday, July 6 9:30 a.m. – SRT Viper Cup Practice (first of six 30-minute practice sessions)
Saturday, July 7 8:50 a.m. – SRT Viper Cup Practice (30 minutes) 11:00 a.m. – SRT Viper Cup Qualifying 2:15 p.m. – SRT Viper Cup Race (25 minutes) 2:55 p.m. – Trophy Presentation
Sunday, July 8 8:30 a.m. – SRT Viper Cup Practice (30 minutes) 10:35 a.m. – SRT Viper Cup Practice (25 minutes) 2:00 p.m. – SRT Viper Cup Race (35 minutes) 2:50 p.m. – Trophy Presentation