Category: IMSA

ViperExchange.com Ends Dodge Viper IMSA Racing Career With a Victory From the Pole at Petit Le Mans

BRASELTON, Georgia (October 1, 2016) – ViperExchange.com and team drivers Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Marc Miller gave the Dodge Viper a victory in its last IMSA race on Saturday at Petit Le Mans in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R. The swan song victory was earned from the pole and put a storybook ending on what has been a successful and winning career for Dodge Vipers in IMSA competition.

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ViperExchange.com, Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen Move to Second in IMSA GTD Championships With Sixth-Place Finish at VIR

DANVILLE, Virginia (August 28, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the Riley Motorsports No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R team stayed alive and even gained ground in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) standings Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway despite a tough race in the Michelin GT Challenge. Both Keating and Bleekemolen ran competitively during their respective stints but the current one-groove nature of the recently repaved 3.27-mile VIR layout created some traffic issues that were no surprise to the ViperExchange.com team. “We had a difficult race today,” Keating said. “It somewhat played out a little bit like we expected. It rained yesterday and we lost all of the rubber off of the track. It was an extremely green track, we struggled for grip and it was especially difficult off line.” Starting the race from seventh on the grid, Keating picked up two positions on the very first lap to move to fifth after a great start.  But the racing got interesting when the more powerful GT Le Mans (GTLM) class cars went to pass the GTD machines on a track that presently only has one real racing line. “It was really difficult when the GTLM cars started coming around,” Keating said. “In one of the single-file areas, a Ford GT stuck its nose in there like they were going to pass me. I flinched, and it was in a section where if you flinch you would lose traction. I ended up going through the grass and lost some positions.”  Keating quickly recovered and pitted a few minutes later to hand the Viper over to Bleekemolen just under 50 minutes into the race. Along with top Riley Motorsports strategy and pit work, Bleekemolen raced to as high as third in the late stages only to see the No. 33 muscled off course by a GTLM competitor in the same exact spot where Keating went off. “The team did an amazing job once again,” Bleekemolen said. “Great strategy, great pit stops and Ben had a good opening stint. We were looking good for a podium so it’s very frustrating to not be up there in the end. I got a small touch in the back from a car in another class which ran me off the road. Unfortunately, we had grass in the radiator and I had to come in and take that off because the engine was overheating.”    Once back on track, and with the Viper cooled down, Bleekemolen put in a typically strong charge to make it back to seventh by the checkered flag, crossing the line one spot ahead of the points-leading No. 63 Ferrari team. “The Riley team did a great job, we had great pit stops and everything went smooth except for that one Turn 6 area that had challenges for both drivers,” Keating said. “But we held our own in points, we have two races left, and hopefully Circuit of The Americas (COTA) and Petit Le Mans will be good for us.”   Additionally, the No. 44 Audi team’s post-race disqualification gave ViperExchange.com a boost to sixth in the final race results and an unexpected jump to second in the provisional GTD championship standings. Although the No. 33 trails the leading No. 63 Ferrari in the championship by a full 20 points, the team and drivers still gained ground and reached the season-high ranking of second in points.    “We are looking forward,” Bleekemolen said. “We have a good team and a good car and hopefully we will get that podium or even fight for a win again at COTA. I know we are all up for it. So let’s keep pushing, let’s not get distracted and let’s get another couple of trophies.”  Returning as two-time and defending race winners, next up for ViperExchange.com is the Lone Start Le Mans at COTA in Austin, Texas, September 15 – 17. The race can be seen live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) on Saturday, September 17, at 12:30 p.m. EDT. About ViperExchange.com: ViperExchange.com is the largest Dodge Viper and exotic cars licensed dealer located just Northwest of Houston, Texas. With over 100 Dodge Vipers typically for sale and more arriving daily for sale, ViperExchange.com has combined the largest inventory in the world of new and pre-owned Dodge Vipers. ViperExchange.com also offers the best prices and discounts. Special orders, specific model searches and financing options are also available. For more information, visit ViperExchange.com directly, Twitter @ViperExchange and Facebook at Facebook.com/Viper-Exchange. About Gas Monkey Garage: In 2002, Richard Rawlings launched Gas Monkey Garage. The Garage created and transported automobiles for customers worldwide. In September 2013, Rawlings started Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill in Northwest Dallas with a second location at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport that opened in March 2014. In October 2014, Gas Monkey Live, a venue dedicated predominantly to live music, was opened. In 2016, Gas Monkey Garage will partner in three motorsports efforts with the ViperExchange.com Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Gas Monkey Garage Special in the 100th Indy 500 and the Laughlin Motorsports Pro Stock in the NHRA Mello Yello Series.   About Cruisin’ With The Monkey: Cruisin’ With The Monkey, March 19 – 26, 2017, is a trip throughout the Western Caribbean with Richard Rawlings, and some of his Monkeys from Gas Monkey Garage, aboard Holland America’s luxurious Nieuw Amsterdam. Setting sail from Fort Lauderdale the day after the 2017 running of the 12 Hours of Sebring, the high-seas adventure will also have winning ViperExchange.com Dodge Viper GT3-R competitors Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Team Director Bill Riley and a few of their racing teammates and colleagues onboard for the week-long party at sea. Check out the full list of professional motorsports personalities already booked for the cruise at www.CruisinWithTheMonkey.com/motorsports and learn more and reserve your spot now at www.CruisinWithTheMonkey.com. 

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ViperExchange.com and Ben Keating to Start Seventh in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR

DANVILLE, Virginia (August 27, 2016) – Ben Keating will start seventh in the Riley Motorsports No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R in Sunday’s Michelin GT Challenge IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). The first round of a three-race stretch-run to close out the 2016 season, the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 (@FS1) at 1:30 p.m. EDT tomorrow, Sunday, August 28.  Keating turned a top lap time of 1:45.680 (111.4 mph) in his final flying lap of the 15-minute GT Daytona (GTD) and clocked in less than three-quarters-of-a-second behind the class pole winner in a tight field. He will start tomorrow’s two-hour and 40-minute race before handing off to co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen, the No. 33 team’s usual closer. 

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ViperExchange.com Rides Winning Road America Momentum to VIRginia International Raceway Looking for Third 2016 IMSA Win

DANVILLE, Virginia (August 24, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R Riley Motorsports team are riding the momentum of a race win three weeks ago at Road America straight to VIRginia International Raceway(VIR) for this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, August 26 – 28. The first round of a critical three-race stretch run to close out the 2016 season, the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR can be seen live on FOX Sports 1 (@FS1) at 1:30 p.m. EDT this Sunday, August 28.  Keating, Bleekemolen and the No. 33 team’s repeat win at Road America on Sunday, August 7, was the second of the 2016 season for ViperExchange.com after first racing to victory at Detroit in early June.

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ViperExchange.com Defends Continental Tire Road Race Showcase Title From Fourth-Place Starting Spot Sunday at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 6, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R Riley Motorsports team will defend their 2015 Continental Tire Road Race Showcase victory from fourth place on the GT Daytona (GTD) starting grid Sunday at Road America. Round 8 of 11 races on the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTD schedule, the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase can be seen live tomorrow, Sunday, August 7, on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 4 p.m. EDT.

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ViperExchange.com Returns to Road America Looking For a Repeat Victory in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin (August 2, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R Riley Motorsports team return to Road America this weekend looking for a repeat victory in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, August 5 – 7. Round 8 of 11 races on the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class schedule, the weekend’s featured Continental Tire Road Race Showcase can be seen live this Sunday, August 7, on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 4 p.m. EDT.

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ViperExchange.com, Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen Finish Third in Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park

LAKEVILLE, Connecticut (July 23, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R worked their way to the lead of the Northeast Grand Prix after another top pit stop by Riley Motorsports but in the end settled for a third-place finish in Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Lime Rock Park.  Lacking the pace to go any faster than 13th in the 14-car GT Daytona (GTD) field in Friday qualifying, ViperExchange.com knew the only chance they had to do well in the Northeast Grand Prix would be a combination of race strategy and mistake-free execution.

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Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and ViperExchange.com Ready to Make Championship Move at the Northeast Grand Prix

LAKEVILLE, Connecticut (July 20, 2016) – Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Energy Dodge Viper GT3-R team return to Lime Rock Park this weekend ready to make a move in the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GT Daytona (GTD) class championship standings in Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix. Round 7 of the 11-race GTD championship, the Northeast Grand Prix can be seen live on FOX this Saturday, July 23, at 3 p.m. EDT. With IMSA WeatherTech races usually broadcast on the growing FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2) networks, the Northeast Grand Prix is a highlight on this year’s IMSA television schedule as the only race this season to be featured on the main FOX network.

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BAR1 No. 20 Gas Monkey PC Battles Back at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Showing quick times all weekend, the No. 20 BAR1 Motorsports PC started Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix from pit lane. During the morning warm-up, the crew discovered that the No. 20 Gas Monkey / Southwest Funding / Top 1 Oil machine had a faulty fuel pressure regulator. Though the crew was able to make the fix in time to make the 11AM start, IMSA issued the crew a double whammy penalty. Matt McMurry was required to start the race from pit lane after the full field had taken the green flag. A pit lane start is immediately followed with a mandatory drive through for starting from pit lane. Effectively, Matt started the race nearly a full lap down.  “It’s a pretty harsh penalty,” noted team owner, Brian Alder. “You’d think starting from the back of the field would serve the purpose. But, these were the cards we were dealt. It’s a shame really, because we had a good car. Matt and Johnny [Mowlem] did a great job and ran hard all day. Unfortunately, track temperatures started wreaking havoc with the tires. A lot of the teams were experiencing similar issues. For us, it put the set up off and we were chasing it the entire race. But, like I said, hats off to Johnny and Matt for keeping us in it.”

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Late-Race Contact Battling for the Lead Keeps ViperExchange.com from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park Repeat

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (July 10, 2016) – A competitive run that had Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen in line to score a second-consecutive victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park was cut short by a late-race contact incident while battling for the lead in Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, resulting in an 11th place finish for the No. 33 ViperExchange.com/ Gas Monkey Garage Dodge Viper GT3-R. Keating, Bleekemolen, ViperExchange.com and Riley Motorsports scored the first race win for the Dodge Viper GT3-R in IMSA GT Daytona (GTD) competition at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2014 and were in a position for another victory at the track formerly known as “Mosport” again today.  After a one-year absence, the GTD division returned to Mosport this weekend and – after a great race-opening driving shift by Keating and outstanding pit stops and strategy calls by Riley Motorsports – Bleekemolen was in second and battling for the lead and the repeat victory just 30 minutes from the finish. 

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