By Patrick Rall
This past weekend kicked off the third season of the Viper
Cup, now sporting the SRT brand name rather than Dodge, but just like last
season the 2012 SRT Viper Cup is packed full of factory built Viper SRT10 ACR-X
race cars. For the first two-race event
of 2012, the Vipers headed to Braselton Georgia and the Road Atlanta race
course with the Saturday race being a 25 minute timed event while Sunday
brought a longer, 40 minute race.
As is the case with every Viper Cup race since the series
began in 2010, the first weekend of the 2012 SRT Viper Cup featured a pair of
celebrity drivers racing for charity.
For this event, the celebrities were author/experienced racer Burt Levy
and former WWF wrestler/well known car collector Bill Goldberg. These guys, like all of the celebrities that
will race in the 2012 SRT Viper Cup will be doing so to benefit the National
Breast Cancer Coalition.
In the 25 minute Saturday race, Ben Keating started the 2012
Viper Cup season as well as he finished the 2011 season – qualifying on the
pole position and never looking back as he went on to win the first race of the
season at Road Atlanta. David Pintaric
finished second in his Viper ACR-X while David Maczyk finished third. For the celebrity drivers, things didn’t go
so well as Burt Levy finished 8th while Bill Goldberg was involved
in a “mishap” and finished 12th.
This race will air on the NBC Sports Network on May 9 at 4:30pm and
again on Oct 21 at 4:00pm.
The second race of the 2012 SRT Viper Cup season came on
Sunday with a timed 40 minute dash featuring the new qualifying system. In the first two Viper Cup seasons, there
were individual qualifying rounds for both the Saturday and Sunday race but for
2012, there is qualifying for the Saturday race while the starting grid for the
Sunday race is determined by flipping the order of finish from the Saturday
race. This meant that reigning champion
Ben Keating would have to start at the rear of the field after winning the Saturday
race but by lap five, he had already worked his way up to second place although
he trailed leader Eric Galerne by a fair distance. Luckily for Keating, a caution came out on
lap 13 that allowed him to catch up to Galerne and by lap 16, Keating had taken
the lead. From there, Keating would go
on to win the 40 minute event – completing 23 laps to win the second race of
the season. David Pintaric once again
finished second while Louis-Philippe Montour came in third. Bill Goldberg again finished 12th
while Burt Levy finished in the 9th spot. For their efforts this weekend, $3,000 will
be donated to breast cancer research.
Unfortunately for Ben Keating, early in the race he made
contact with the Viper ACR-X of driver Trevor Nelson and after the race, Nelson
complained to race officials about said contact. The race officials ruled that Keating could
have avoided that contact and because of the rough driving, he was penalized 32
in the season standings. Because of that, even though Keating has won both of the
races this year, he trails David Pintaric by 5 points in the run for the
championship. This race will air on the
NBC Sports Network on May 16 at 4:30pm with an encore presentation on Oct 28 at
The next stop for the 2012 SRT Viper Cup is at Road America
on May 12th and 13th.