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Viper wins at Road America

by Bill Cawthon on

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen celebrated their first victory of the season after winning the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase today at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

“No doubt, it has been a difficult season for the (No.) 33 car,” said Keating, who owns the Viper. “We had a good car the entire season, but it feels great to finally stand on the top step of the podium. We ran the exact strategy that we expected to run. The race kind of came to us being green until the end. If a yellow came out in the last hour, I think we would have come out third.”


The No. 33 Riley Motorsports/Viper Exchange Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R crossed the finish line 12.791 seconds ahead of the No. 007 Royal Purple/Orion Energy/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 driven by Christina Nielsen and Kuno Wittmer.

Last year, when SRT was still involved in American Le Mans racing, Wittmer and Jonathan Bomarito drove the No. 93 Viper to the United Sportscar GT Le Mans championship.

Before today, the No. 33 team’s best 2015 season finish was second place two weeks ago at the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock.

“Today we had a great race, we ran well, no mistakes,” Bleekemolen commented. “We had great pit stops. Since they were almost all green, they had to be great because every second counted. It’s nice to finally win, I don’t like to look back too much, but we had a rough start to the year. I’m happy it’s starting to go well. A second in Lime Rock, and now a win here, it’s a nice come back going into the end of the season.”

Next race for the Viper team is the GT-only Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway. It’s scheduled for August 23.

Late Note: It was announced today that WeatherTech will replace Tudor Watch USA as the 2016 IMSA United Sportscar Championship series. Tudor will remain as the “Official Timepiece” sponsor.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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