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ERIC CURRAN AND JIM STOUT WIN USGTC FINALE AT DAYTONA

Stout, Loudin and Ferguson crowned GT-1, GT-2 and GT-U champions

NARRA Press Release

Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper have won the final two rounds of the 2011 US GT Championship, held at Daytona International Speedway (October 21-23).  

Driving for Whelen Engineering Marsh Racing, Eric Curran (GT-U / Chevrolet Corvette) took the overall victory in Saturday's championship race from George Whelen (GT-U / Chevrolet Corvette) and Jim Stout (GT-1 / Dodge Viper). 

The top three changed positions throughout the race with Curran crossing the line just ahead of his team-mate Whelen, after a late safety-car period resulted in a one-lap dash for the checkered flag.  

The result also gave Curran the GT-Unlimited class win from George Whelen and David Pintaric (Dodge Viper).  

Stout, and his Coastal Pet / Cool Shirt sponsored Dodge Viper Competition Coupe set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:50.804. His third overall also gave him the win in GT-1.   

Russ Oasis (2nd, Dodge Viper) and Frank Lussier (3rd, Dodge Viper) completed Saturday's GT-1 podium.   

In GT-2, Steve Loudin (Dodge Viper) survived a spin in traffic to take the class win from Kathy Stout (Dodge Viper) and Nathan Stokey (Dodge Viper).  

On Sunday, perhaps feeling the pressure of Dodge SRT CEO Ralph Gilles looking on, Jim Stout looked determined to prove a point. 

From the pole, Stout stretched out a commanding lead over George Whelen.  

Starting further down the pack was NASCAR Truck Series star James Buescher, who replaced Eric Curran in the number 33 Whelen Engineering entry.  

Buescher had travelled directly to Daytona after placing third in Saturday night's Truck race at Talladega, and Sunday morning's practice session was his first time behind the wheel of the Marsh Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

As he became acclimated to the car, Buescher rocketed up the field in Sunday's race. 

Sonny Whelen, who also started from mid-pack in the 39 car grid, did the same, and by the time the safety car came out in the closing stages of Sunday's race the team mates were lined up behind Jim Stout's purple Viper.

In a repeat of Saturday, Sunday's race ended with a short dash to the checkered flag, however this time it would be over two laps. 

This was still enough time for Jim Stout to gap the Corvettes by eight seconds and end the season with a convincing outright win from James Buescher and Sonny Whelen.  

It was a dream ending to Stout's year, with his two GT-1 class wins crowning him 2011 USGTC GT-1 Champion.  

Fittingly, Russ Oasis finished second in class to take second in the GT-1 Championship, and Michael Hartley (Dodge Viper) finished third in class to finish third in points.  

Also finishing the year with two class wins was Steve Loudin. He took the GT-2 win from Nathan Stokey and Kathy Stout. 

The wins cemented the GT-2 Championship for Loudin, whose main Championship contender, Tom Antonelli, withdrew from the weekend to concentrate on testing for next year's season. 

In fact, Antonelli was relegated to third in the championship after Kathy Stout's two podiums promoted her to second in points. 

Kevin Ferguson secured the GT-Unlimited Championship with fifth in class in Sunday's race.  

As the sunset over Daytona on Sunday evening, the inaugural year of the US GT Championship drew to a close.

With such a successful year behind it, and marques such as BMW, Corvette, Porsche and Viper regularly represented, the series' claim, of being the home for high-end and high-performance racing, now must surely be a reality.  

For full race and championship results head to NARRAonline.com.

      

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