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Viper third in IMSA season opener

by Bill Cawthon on

Fifty-four teams were on hand for the 54th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Motor Speedway.

The 24-hour event, which concluded today, kicked off the 2016 season for both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

Viper-IMSA-Daytona-Web

The Riley Motorsports  No. 93 Dodge SRT Viper GT3-R, driven by Ben Keating, Gar Robinson, Jeff Mosing, Eric Foss and Damien Faulkner, finished third in the GT Daytona class and 16th overall. The Viper crossed the finish line 5.059 seconds behind the class-winning Magnus Racing team of John Potter, Andy Lally, Marco Seefried, Rene Rast and their No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 .

If Gar Robinson’s name sounds familiar, he’s the rookie that knocked Cameron Lawrence and the No. 1 Dodge Challenger out of the Trans Am TA2 championship last year.

All of the No. 93 team members are from Texas with the exception of Irishman Damien Faulkner. Keating is from Houston, Robinson is from San Antonio, Mosing is from Austin and Foss is from the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.

The second Riley car, the No. 33 Gas Monkey Dodge, finished tenth in class and 24th overall. The team of  Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Marc Miller and Dominick Farnbacher was about 1.415 seconds behind the No. 93 car at the race’s end.

Marc Goossens, a driver well-known to Viper fans, was also in this weekend’s race. He was one of the drivers of the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Chevrolet Corvette DP that finished third overall and third in the Prototype class.

The fastest laps of the day were turned in by the four Lamborghini Huracan GT3s, but only one Lambo made it into the top ten in the class.

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 just-auto.com, 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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