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Viper victorious in Detroit

by Bill Cawthon on

The #33 Monkey Dodge Viper scored its first win of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.


Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen took the checkered flag in the GT Daytona class on the 2.35-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit this. After qualifying sixth, Ben Keating drove his way into the lead before handing the car over to his co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen. Bleekemolen dropped out of the lead after the pit stop, but quickly regained it. He crossed the finish line 2.489 seconds ahead of Joerg Bergmeister in a Porsche 911 GT3 R and Alessandro Balzan in a Ferrari 488 GT3.

Viper-33-IMSA-WebThe Viper the only built-in-Detroit car in the GT Daytona class, not to mention being the only American car. Keating said this made the hometown win especially sweet.

NHRA Update: The elimination rounds at the NHRA New England Nationals were rained out and have been rescheduled for Monday starting at 11:00 AM eastern Time.  Drivers were able to get in all four qualifying rounds Friday and Saturday.

Allen Johnson qualified sixth in Pro Stock, followed by Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the No. 7 position. Erica Enders and V. Gaines qualified in the No. 10 and No. 11 spots, respectively.

In Funny Car, Ron Capps set a track ET record to take the top spot in the order.  Matt Hagan and Tommy Johnson Jr. round out the top three. Jack Beckman claimed the No. 6 spot and John Hale made the field, qualifying fifteenth.

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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