Race re-cap show now available – Ben Keating Wins Dodge Viper Cup Race Two in a Battle with Keith Verges at Pocono Raceway. Round 6

Long Pond, Pa., Sep. 12, 2010 — Ben Keating won Dodge Viper Cup Race Two today, stalking yesterday’s Race One winner Keith Verges for much of the contest before banging past on the infield section at Pocono Raceway. Verges finished second. Yesterday their positions were reversed. Both cars bore evidence of a coming-together as he and Keating battled for position. Race officials adjudged the damage to be the result of a “racing incident.”

Keating took the pole over Verges by just over a second during a damp qualifying session in the morning and won by two seconds in the 20-lap race this afternoon. After the standing start Verges jumped ahead of Keating into the high-banked Turn 1 and the two drove off into the distance. They finished a half-minute clear of a race-long fight among guest driver Bucky Lasek, the usually-fast Ryan Schimsk, a competitive Jim Stout and third-place qualifier Eric Galerne. They, along with Michael Von Quilich were closely matched throughout the race.

Galerne held third place briefly on the first lap before being overwhelmed by Schimsk on braking through Turn 2 into the sharp left-hander into the twisty infield section. Galerne, who was very competitive in Race One, slipped back behind Stout and Lasek where he remained until the finish. At the end of the first lap, Verges led Keating, the now third-place Schimsk, followed by Stout, Lasek, Galerne and the rest.

Verges and Keating pulled steadily away from the pack with Keating beginning to close the gap until he made the move that put him in the lead. “He was fast all weekend and deserves the victory,” said Verges, who had his breakthrough win yesterday after close finishes in the previous races.

The second pack, led by Ryan Schimsk, started to rumble late in the race as Lasek threw out his conservative race plan. “I planned to lay back and keep Dodge’s equipment safe,” he said, considering his eventful Race One yesterday. “But I realized with three laps left that I had a chance for a podium finish.” He went for it, suddenly carving big chunks out of Schimsk’s lead. He got close on the second-to-last lap, but was caught behind lapped traffic approaching the speedway section. He ran the high-speed turns very fast and caught Schimsk again as they entered the infield. He slipped past Schimsk only a couple of turns before the finishing straight, a move the spectators cheered.

Guest driver Allen Johnson finished eighth after a careful race. “I drove a really smooth race until about five laps from the finish when I actually thought I could catch sixth place, but I got sloppy and spun out. I had a great time and I loved it–this is hard work,” he said.

Connie Bogan was ninth. David Mazyck scored a DNF in what amounted to a shakedown run in the Viper ACR-X that he damaged during a test run at Florida’s Palm Beach International Raceway before the season.

The next Dodge Viper Cup event takes place October 2-3 at Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele, Utah. The final event is at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch, Pahrump, Nev., October 23-24, 2010.

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