Stout and Antonelli do the double while Whelen keeps it in the family at VIR.

Jim Stout won Sunday's USGTC outright, finishing first in GT-1 from Michael Hartley (left) and Russ Oasis (right). © NARRA


Jim Stout (GT-1) and Tom Antonelli (GT-2) have made it two class wins from two races, while George Whelen (GT-U) has taken his first USGTC class win, during Sunday’s race of the US GT Championship presented by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney at Virginia International Raceway.

The three day North American Road Racing Association sanctioned event (July 8-10) also featured the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship, US Performance Driver Education Program and the Dodge Viper Cup presented by Pennzoil Ultra, and saw record entires in all categories.

In many ways Sunday’s race result mimicked that of Saturday’s. Jim Stout and his Coastal Pet / Cool Shirt® sponsored Dodge Viper Competition Coupe dominated proceedings, gapping his nearest rival by over 13 seconds on his way to another textbook win.

And just as in Saturday’s race, Michael Hartley overtook Russ Oasis to claim second and third in GT-1 respectively, with fourth overall and first in GT-U going to a driver named Whelen.

This time, however, Hartley’s pace was much closer to Stout’s. As he had being doing all weekend, Hartley continued to find speed around VIR’s challenging 3.37 mile historic ‘full course’ to lap within three tenths of Stout’s best time- on Saturday Stout’s best was 1.5 seconds faster than Hartley’s.

Sunday also saw George Whelen match his father’s Saturday performance to take the top step of the GT-Unlimited class podium- his first ever win in the US GT Championship’s premier class.

Tom Leonard amazed, finishing second in GT-Unlimited in only his third ever race. © NARRA

Perhaps the best drive of the day, though, came from Tom Leonard. He took 2nd in GT-U and 4th overall, making it two Corvettes in the top five.

Amazingly, it was only the third ever auto race for the SpeedSouth Active Power Racing driver, who usually competes in time-trial competition.

After starting 9th, he found himself down yet another position as fellow GT-U competitor David McNeil made his way past three cars heading though turn 1 and 2 for the first time.

Leonard, who had previously considered himself quite a conservative racer, showed a new found aggression. He hounded the back of Tom Antonelli’s GT-2 Viper, and after impressively dispatching Antonelli he eventually did the same with Steve Loudin.

Yet Leonard had unfinished business and chased the Viper of David McNeil down, in an attempt to reclaim the class position.

While McNeil fought hard, the superior braking on the SpeedSouth prepared Corvette was too much and Leonard made the pass, taking second in GT-Unlimited and relegating McNeil to third.

Leonard’s progression through the field had another, unexpected impact on the race- the tussle for GT-2 honors.

Steve Loudin, who had qualified fastest in class by five tenths of a second, looked to have an early buffer against arch-rival Tom Antonelli as he kept Leonard’s Corvette at bay.

However, when Leonard made his way past Antonelli was able to close in. The pressure worked, and Loudin missed a shift heading down the start/finish straight allowing Antonelli to pounce.

Immediately Loudin went back on the attack, making a move into the tight left-hander of turn 4. With neither driver giving up, the pair made contact as they cornered side-by-side, but with Antonelli positioned for the following right-hander the contest was soon over.

Antonelli continued to push and cemented a very convincing GT-2 class victory over Loudin, his second for the weekend. Frank Lussier completed the podium, making it a clean sweep for Dodge Viper in GT-2.

Tom Antonelli and his All Chicago Fleet Maintenance Dodge Viper dominated the weekend in GT-2. © NARRA

The waving of the checkered flag marked the conclusion of another highly successful event weekend for NARRA and for the US GT Championship presented by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.

All the action from Sunday’s race, and the weekend was captured using GoPro cameras by the Internal Production Group and will be broadcast later this year on GoRacingTV.com, hosted by motorsport television personality Tom Hnatiw.

Next stop for the USGTC, the United States’ new home for high-end, high performance GT styled cars, is Motorsports Park Hastings, Nebraska for the 2011 NARRA Super Sports Car Weekend, August 5-7.

Event images, commentary and results can be found at facebook.com/NARRAonline .

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