By Patrick Rall
This past weekend the Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R race teams headed to Road America for the 8th event of the season for the GTLM class and while the Vipers couldn’t pull offer as strong of a finish as they have in the past few races – the team continued their podium streak and closed the gap on the class leading Corvette Racing team.
The Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R teams came into the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase on a three race podium streak after the #93 car won the event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That streak of strong runs put the #93 drivers within 13 points of the #3 Corvette Racing Team in the driver’s championship while also trailing the same Corvette by the same margin. However, the Vipers seemingly had the momentum coming into the Road America event and when the Vipers qualified 2nd and 3rd in the GTLM class – they had a very real chance of closing that gap even more.
In the early going, the Vipers were at the front of the GTLM class but a collection of cautions that ate up 90 minutes of the 2 hour and 45 minute race, combined with some troublesome pit stops and the rigors of normal racing forced the Vipers to settle for 3rd and 4th place in the class. The #93 Viper driven by Jonathon Bomarito and Kumo Wittmer grabbed the 3rd spot while the #91 Viper driven by Marc Goossens and Dominic Farnbacher finished 4th. Certainly not the finish that either team had hoped for, but it continued the podium streak for Team Viper.
The race in the GTLM class was won by the #62 Ferrari and the #56 BMW M3 finished second. More importantly, the #3 and #4 Corvette Racing entries had an even worse weekend than the Vipers, finishing 6th and 7th in the class. This allowed the #93 Viper to gain 5 points on the #3 Corvette so in both the driver’s championship and team championship, the #93 Viper sits just 8 points behind the Corvette with three races left this season.
In other words, with a great amount of momentum heading into the final three races – SRT Motorsports has a very real chance of claiming both the 2014 Tudor United SportsCar Championship driver and team championship. Also, the Vipers now sit just three points behind Chevrolet in the manufacturer’s championship so if the Vipers can continue to beat the Corvettes through the final three races, SRT could bring home a trio of endurance championships in 2014.