SRT Viper Cup Rounds 1 & 2

Discussion in 'Viper Racing/Dyno Results/Time Slips' started by David Pintaric, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Well, I have my first two SRT Viper Cup races under my belt.

    This was the first time I drove my new SRT Viper ACR-X in competition, and the experience was "interesting."

    My stomach was turning Thursday night because I was concerned about how things would go. Road Atlanta is a track I've never felt comfortable at, and really never had much success on. But I had to overcome my concerns and get the job done...my first priority was not balling the car up. #2 was to not embarrass myself, and #3 was to get faster.

    Friday morning we put the car on the track for the first of 4 1/2 hour test sessions. I was using old Michelin slicks of undetermined age. But the tires worked pretty well. My times were slow, best of this session was a 1:30 "something." But I wasn't out to lunch and actually pretty close to everyone else in the class. The next two sessions we kept working on the car and working on the driver. Eventually I carded a 27.9 on the same old tires, so we felt pretty good that we were in the same area code of "competitive."

    Saturday started the official event, and that's when you start seeig what most everyone else has to offer. The first session for the SRT Viper Cup was a warm-up, so we went out and just "warmed the car up." Novel idea. The qualifying session would have us gridded based on our times in this session. I was 7th I think (no, not in the video...someone HAS to know what I am referring to...LOL).

    Qualifying went only OK. My fast lap was botched a bit as I was right on the tail of another ACRX coming out of turn 10B and had to lift. Data later showed that it cost me 1/2 second. I pull into the pits after 5 laps and Matt Miller of Kryderacing, Inc., my crew chief, says, "Good job. I think you're second." I asked what my best time was and he said a 28.2. There was no way I was second with that time. It turned out we were both right...I was second, and a 28.2 wasn't getting me there, but a 27.2 did. The botched lap didn't cost me anything in starting position, only some bragging rights.

    So I get to experience my first standing start of a road race. 25 years ago I used to race NHRA, so I felt like I'd be OK with doing this. Turned out, OK is about what I am, and not any better. At the start I got out "Ok" (there's that word again). I felt the third place car creeping up on the inside of me, so I slightly moved to the right to crowd him a bit. We never touched, but I certainly wasn't going to give him room to drive a semi through.

    The race was a white-wash. Ben Keating checked out; after three laps I realized all I could do was learn some things about driving this car (I started the race with 348 miles on the car, so not a great deal of seat time). My rear view mirror was empty as well as my windshield for most of the race. The only excite came towards the end when Bill Goldberg and Eric Galern touched exiting Turn 5 causing a wreck. The yellow flag came out and Ben got behind someone who just didn't want to speed up. So he's watching his mirrors as I'm starting to bear down on him. He had to be yelling at the driver in front of him, "Speed up, PULEEZE!!!" I never did catch him.

    So the first SRT Viper Cup race for me ended in a second place finish. Not bad, but I wasn't happy with my performance. Later that night we attended a NARRA banquet, and a number of people came up and congratulated me on my performance. I told each and every one of them I wasn't too pleased with how I drove. Well, one of my crew pulled me aside and said that people were giving me a funky look after I would say this. The advice given to me was, "Say 'thank you' and shut up." Good guidance.

    Sunday's race would have us start in an inverted order of our Saturday race finish. Ben was 10th, I was 9th, and there were four drivers behind us who didn't finish 75% of the race laps. I was looking forward to working my way through traffic. I always felt comfortable around other cars on the track. And my first lap confirmed my thoughts. I went from 9th to 5th in Lap One. I smiled to myself thinking that's pretty good.

    Because of the longer race length on Sunday (40 minutes vs 25 on Saturday), SRT planned on a 3-lap Full Course Yellow at the mid-point. Just before we reached that, Ben Keating was on my bumper. Going into Turn 10A he tried outbraking me, but failed. He ended up going into, and through, the sand trap at the end of the back straight. He was fortunate, as if he didn't get through he'd be stuck big time. He also avoided damaging the car; good for him, not good for me. He eventually caught me and passed me for second (behind Eric Galerne). The FCY was then thrown.

    At the restart poor Eric was a dead duck. Ben got inside of him going into Turn One, and I had a chance but backed off to avoid contact. This allowed Ben to get a decent gap on me as I passed Eric going into Turn 10A. So I had 8-10 laps to chase Ben down, which never did happen. I did have to fend off Loius Montour for a few laps, but he ended behind me by a few seconds at the checked flag.

    So, two races, and two second place finishes. I guess I didn't embarrass myself, but I realize I've got work to do. The biggest issue I have it getting used to the higher grip levels the Michelin slicks have compared to the DOT-based tires I've been racing on for the last 8 years. I'll get there...

    I did leave the weekend with the points lead, however. Ben was penalized for avoidable contact with the Trevor Nelson. Ben, being the gentlemen he is, when viewing the incident from another competitor's in-car, 'fessed up and agreed to pay for the damaged. He was awarded 7th place points versus 1st, so that gives me a 5 point advantage exiting Road Atlanta.

    Now we're off to a track I feel a bit better about: Road America. I still have work to do, but we're going to one of my "homes away from home."

    These ACR-Xs are really fantastic race cars. Docile as heck, but boy do they go fast.
     
  2. bluestreak

    bluestreak Enthusiast

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    Congrats David. Learn how to accept a compliment!

    Good luck at Road America.
     
  3. SlayerLS1

    SlayerLS1 Viper Owner

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    Great job and thanks for posting this! I appreciate the story, and I look forward to more!
     
  4. AFL in NJ

    AFL in NJ Enthusiast

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    Great job!

    Regards,
    Aaron
     
  5. 01sapphirebob

    01sapphirebob Enthusiast

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    Great job David!!
     
  6. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Not an easy thing for me to do. :)
     
  7. Slithr

    Slithr Viper Owner

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    Thanks for posting, that's the kind of inside story you just don't get on TV :2tu: Good luck in the upcoming races, it's good to see someone make Ben earn it.

    PS. will this season be televised on versus like last year? If so, has a schedule been published?
     
  8. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Yes, the series will be on NBC Sports (formerly Versus). I don't have a schedule, yet. But I was told that the first shows should start around May 9-10.

    Ben hasn't been pushed yet in 2012. I plan on changing that in Rounds 3 & 4. To quote the movie Charlie Wilson's War: "We'll see..."
     
  9. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    I had some pictures taken while at the track...

    Pintaric_6271.jpg Two Vipers #1.jpg
     
  10. hou99gts

    hou99gts Viper Owner

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    Thank you for the story David, and congrats on your 2nd place finishes.
     
  11. shooter_t1

    shooter_t1 Has Left the Room!

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    Great write up sir. Thank you for sharing your weekend with us.:2tu:
     
  12. JoelW

    JoelW Viper Owner

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    As I told you at the scales, thanks for all you do for the Viper and owners. You are a class act and we are proud of you. It was good to meet you and kind of you to talk to me while you were busy. Thanks!
     
  13. 3whitevipers

    3whitevipers VCA Member - South

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    David--
    That was a fantastic result for you. To be able to be competitive with Ben Keating with all his experience and know how I think is terrific. I also agree that Ben is a great guy. Had the pleasure of meeting him at the NARRA race in Daytona last May. He was most gracious to my wife and I when he could have just blown us off. I've never forgotten that kindness from him.
    Thanks so much for sharing your race experience with those of us who cannot do that.---Dave
     
  14. 3SRTsandGTS

    3SRTsandGTS Viper Owner

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    David, Congratulations on Round 1 and 2! I finished 3rd on Saturday, which was by far my best finish of the series. My Saturday goal was to follow you for as long as I could, which was about 3 turns. Starting in the back on Sunday was too much for me to overcome. I developed a tremendous under steer problem, which got me close to 4, 5, and 6 positions, but I could not get by them. Road America is new for me so I am hoping for a good showing.
     
  15. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Dave, it was good meeting you. I am fairly comfortable at Road America, so I will be happy to help show you around.
     
  16. Viperless

    Viperless Viper Owner

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    Nicely done David! Looking forward to seeing you run at Road America.
     
  17. Boxer12

    Boxer12 Viper Owner

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    David, good job. So, to deviate a bit from the topic, have you had any track time on a track where you have established times in your STO car? How do your times in the X compare?
     
  18. bluestreak

    bluestreak Enthusiast

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    I was about to ask that same question. When I first saw the for sale sign on your other car I thought you were putting the X up for sale already. The price on that car should be mighty tempting for someone!
     
  19. Boxer12

    Boxer12 Viper Owner

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    One more ques Dave, is Michelin building the tires for the series again? (I tried to get a set last fall but was unable to get them.) You were able to run on new tires for the races? How would you compare the Michelins to the Hoosier R80 or R100?
     
  20. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Michelin is the tire for the SRT Viper Cup Series. It's a great tire. I think it is faster than the Hoosier R100, but my only experience with that tire was at Daytona last year, and the alignment settings required for that track made it so NO car handled well at all.

    A comparison between the STO and ACR-X is a tough one; the two cars get things done in a different way. The STO car handles better IF we used the same tires. The ACRX is faster in a straight line as it has way more power than the STO-spec, but if the STO was in NASA ST1 configuration, the HP numbers are similar.

    The STO really runs through the RPN range fast, as I have that lightweight clutch/flywheel. It's noticable..

    Yes, $65,000 for one of the best STO/ST1 cars in the country is a heck of a deal! If someone doesn't buy it, I'm just going to continue racing it, and winning.
     
  21. 3SRTsandGTS

    3SRTsandGTS Viper Owner

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    David, thank you for the offer. I started to watch some video, but any tips you can provide would be greatly appreciated. - David
     
  22. bluestreak

    bluestreak Enthusiast

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    David, you have any videos from the races?
     
  23. David Pintaric

    David Pintaric Viper Owner

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    Yes, but the laptop where the files are located is with my rig and not at home. I'll get the computer this weekend and post up some video if it doesn't make me look too bad...
     
  24. Magnus_

    Magnus_ Viper Owner

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    David,

    I just registered for the NARRA event at RA. Looking forward to meeting you and watching you on track.

    - Keith, 2006 First Edition
     
  25. MBPERF

    MBPERF Viper Owner

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    David Congrats on the great finishes. The X is a great car isn't it.

    All the best with continued success in the series.

    MB
     
  26. 99t1

    99t1 Enthusiast

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