The fifth and sixth rounds of the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup Series are set to take place this weekend (July 9th-10th) at the historic Virginia International Raceway. What is setting these rounds apart from the others? It's the 19 drivers that have entered to participate, a record number for the series!

The weekend will already be thrilling with two races happening and so many participants but adding to that excitement is a championship battle among race winners Ben Keating, Jeff Courtney and 21-year-old A.J. Morgan, a two-time winner in four races this season. The champion drivers will be joined by three first-time drivers, Brad Gorrondona, Bernie Katz and Marc Montour as well as Larry Carter, Eric Galerne and Ted Hughes who are returning to the series this weekend after missing the second round at New Jersey.

The Dodge Viper Cup Series is all about helping out a good cause as well, having invited celebrity drivers to compete in the races for a charity. Guaranteed payouts to celebrity drivers following all 10 series races are donated to their charities of choice, with the highest finishing celebrity earning $2,000 and the next highest finishing celebrity receiving $1,000 for donation. Almost $50,000 was donated by Dodge Motorsports to different charities during last year's series.

Celebrity drivers competing this weekend at VIR are Chris Burandt, a professional snowmobiler and backcountry adventure guide, Brian Makse, an auto writer for major Canadian publications, and our very own Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Street and Racing Technology and Motorsports for Chrysler Group LLC.

“At the midpoint of our second season, we're seeing some great competition in the Dodge Viper Cup series in 2011, said Ralph Gilles, “With our largest field ever this weekend at VIR, it's certainly setting up to be an exciting and close race to crown the series champion later this year at Daytona.”

With only four races left after this weekend, the 2011 Dodge Viper Cup Series ends October 23rd at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.


Image: The Dodge Viper ACR-X