After a Second Place Finish on Saturday, The KENDA Team Finishes With a Win
Milwaukee, Wisconsin (July 13, 2011)—Rounds 5 and 6 of the Dodge Viper Cup were held at a blistering hot Virginia International Raceway this past weekend. Jeff Courtney, driver of the #99 KENDA Tires/JCR Motorsports Dodge Viper ACR-X earned a second place finish on Saturday and took the win in Sunday’s race.
The #99 came out of the trailer on Friday with a set-up that was nearly spot-on. “The car rolled out of the trailer with a great starting set-up,” said Courtney. “We only needed to make a few minor adjustments. We felt really good about the car.” The team was on the mark, the #99 KENDA ACR-X was the fastest Viper in practice on Friday. On Saturday, the #99 KENDA qualified for the second place position, behind pole-sitter Ben Keating. Unfortunately, at the start of Saturday’s race, Courtney had a horrendous start which put him in third, behind Keating’s #33 car and Ted Hughes #5 car. “Ted got a great jump on me,” said Courtney. “He got inside and I just couldn’t defend against him. It took me about a lap and a half to get past him.” By the time Courtney made his way around the #5 car, Keating had pulled away from the pack creating a large gap. “I clicked off some great laps, including the fastest race lap, but just ran out of time,” said Courtney. The #99 got within a car length of Keating in the last lap, but it was too little too late and Courtney was not able to make a run at the lead before the race was over, which left Courtney on the second step of the podium.
At Sunday’s Round 6 race, it looked to be a repeat of Saturday after Keating earned the pole and Courtney qualified for second position. Yet from the excellent standing start on Sunday, the JCR Motorsports team knew that Sunday’s race would be different. “We felt like we had a great car,” said Courtney. “Even if we didn’t have the hottest qualifying lap, we knew we could run consistent fast laps in the race.”
After an intense race in the heat on Saturday, Sunday was even hotter yet, making the track very slick. Courtney kept close on Keating’s tail, looking to maximize on any slip Keating might make. In about lap 3, Keating pushed a little too hard and went off the track; Courtney took the lead from that point on, running relatively conservative laps with a huge gap between the #99 and the rest of the field.
“I thought I was basically going to sail off into the sunset,” said Courtney, “Suddenly, I started having gear change issues which allowed A.J. Morgan to become larger and larger in my mirror. We backed down on rpm, made things more deliberate and we were able to hold on for the win.”
All things considered, it was a great weekend for Courtney and the JCR Motorsports team with the win and a second place finish. Courtney has moved up into second place in the points race, just 30 points behind the leader, Keating. In third place, A.J. Morgan is 32 points behind Courtney. The balance of the Viper Cup season should prove exciting as these three push hard for the 2011 Viper Cup Championship.
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