by Patrick Rall

    #59.jpgThis 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/.