Jim Stout will be back at TWS to defend his 2012 GT-U Championship. � NARRA
R U Faster Than a Redneck TV show contestant Jeremy Rohrs debuts in the Whelen USTTC, and a trio of champions return for the opening round of the 2013 US GT Championship, as the Lone Star State plays host to the stars of the North American Road Racing Association (Feb 15-17).
Come Friday, the thundering sounds of high-horsepower American muscle, screaming European exotics and the whistling wastegates of boosted imports will once again invade Texas World Speedway, College Station, for Rounds 1 & 2 of NARRA's US GT Championship and Whelen US TimeTrial Championship. However the wild machinery won't be the only attraction as a star studded lineup takes part in both series.
This weekend the US GT Championship will feature no less than three current class champions and and a number of former race winners. Driving his iconic purple Arrow Racing Engines Dodge Viper Comp Coupe, 2012 GT-Unlimited champ Jim Stout, from Ohio, will commence his campaign to retain his crown as will Texan Ron Farmer (US LED Chevrolet Corvette Z06), the 2012 GT-3 champ.
Meanwhile, back-to-back GT-2 champion Steve Loudin steps up to the GT-1 class this year after the Illinois driver converted his gold Tricel Honeycomb Viper Comp Coupe. He'll be up against two formidable locals, Dan Knox (Performance SpeedTech Viper ACR-X) and twice 2012 TWS podium finisher, Eric Galerne (American Racing Tech Viper ACR-X).
Loudin's old sparring partner, Ohio's Kathy Stout (Oakley Cool Shirt Viper Comp Coupe) has another Comp Coupe to contend with in GT-2 class this year, that of Oklahoma's Tom Atherton.
Cutting his teeth will be Alabama's Brian Leonard in his family's GT-U race winning yellow SpeedSouth Active Power Racing Corvette Z06. However, as well as contending with class champ Jim Stout, he'll also be up against last year's Sunday race winning Performance SpeedTech prepared Viper GTS of Texan David Fiorelli.
The competition in the Whelen US TimeTrial Championship presented by South Side Performance promises to be just as fierce, as imports face off with the best the US has to offer in what has been described as a "perfect preview" to the series premiere of Speed TV's new show, R U Faster Than A Redneck. Battling against top time-attack driver and show contestant Jeremy Rohrs, and the same 540whp South Side Performance Nissan GT-R that featured in the TV series, will be a myriad of Vettes, Vipers, and more.
Outright and TT-1 class track lap record holders Troy and T.J. Messer (Troy's Transmission Corvette Z06) will be tough to beat, as will fellow Texan and TT-U lap record holder Paul Costas (BinkiniRacer.com Chevrolet Camaro).
2012 TT-U class champion, Arizona's Jeff Bawden (Good Neighbor Support Services Viper SRT-10) will also provide strong competition in the no-holds-barred Unlimited class as will the Corvette Z06 of Alabama's Tom Fisher, which features a newly developed SpeedSouth paddle shift and sequential gearbox. In TT-2 the benchmark is again expected to be last year's champ, Missouri's Michael Perkins (Target Air Conditioning Corvette Z06).
Two other cars to keep an eye on in the Whelen USTTC this weekend are actually the most unassuming. Two Mazda Miatas are entered at the hands of two Texans, Chris Croninger and John Roberts. But don't be fooled, these wolves in sheep's clothing have V8s mounted under the hood and both are capable of winning class as Croninger did last year, setting the TT-3 lap record.
Entries for both series are still open. The event commences Friday with practice, with a round for each of the two championships taking place both on both Saturday and Sunday.
Even novice drivers without any racing or time-trial experience can get out on track. NARRA offers both one-on-one instruction and 'solo' sessions for all high-end and high-performance road car owners in its acclaimed US Performance Driver Education program.
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