by Patrick Rall
This past weekend marked the second stop of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup – this time with the field of Dodge Viper ACR-X racers taking on the road course of New Jersey Motorsports Park in a two-race shootout.
On Saturday, the qualifying was very close with Ben Keating, Jeff Courtney and A.J. Morgan taking the first three starting positions, all within 4 tenths of a second of each other. As has been the case since the beginning of the Dodge Viper Cup back in 2010, Ben Keating spent much of the race up front after starting on the pole, with Jeff Courtney running a close second.
Unfortunately for Keating, with three laps left Courtney tried to make
his move into first but didn’t have enough room – getting into Keating
and knocking them both from contention. During the melee, Morgan snuck
through the mess while Keating sustained some body damage and a
flattened tire. Courtney did enough damage to his vehicle that he was
done for the day.
Morgan went on to win the race easily, by a margin of 27 seconds over
second place Dave Forelli and third place Michael Von Quilich.
Professional freestyle motocross rider and guest driver Andy Bell
finished fourth and Billy Gropp rounded out the top five. This was AJ
Morgan’s second win of the season, having won the season opener at
Sebring International Raceway.
In the second race of the weekend, Ben Keating once again started on the
pole position, after his team made the repairs to the vehicle caused by
the previous race’s tangle with Jeff Courtney. Keating’s #32 Dodge
Viper ACR-X never trailed in the second race of the weekend, and with no
interference from the other racers, Keating walked away with his first
win of the season. Jeff Courtney’s team also had extensive repairs to
make but those efforts paid off, as Courtney finished second in the June
12th race in his #99 Viper ACR-X. AJ Morgan finished his strong
weekend off with a third place in the Sunday race followed by Michael
Von Quilich in fourth and Dave Forelli in fifth.
If you missed the first two races of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup, the
series kicked off at Sebring International Raceway, with AJ Morgan
winning the first event of the season and Jeff Courtney winning the
second race. Keating finished second in the initial race of the season
and third in the second race, when combined with his win of the Sunday
race in Jersey and his disappointing 8th on Saturday, Keating has taken
the lead in series points. Last year, Keating fell just short of the
series championship, losing in the last weekend of the season to
champion Ryan Schimsk.
Round three of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup is scheduled to take place on
July 9th and 10th as the tour heads to Virginia International Raceway
for the 5th and 6th races of the series.
For more information, go to ViperHeadquarters.com/.