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It's Viper vs. Viper at the Duel in the Desert

Thu, 06 Oct 2011

Dodge Motorsports is starting its own celebrity race to rival the long-running Toyota Long Beach event. The Duel in the Desert inaugural Dodge Viper Celebrity Challenge will air on the Versus network on Oct. 9 at 3 p.m.

The event, which raised $18,000 in proceeds benefitting various charities, took place at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City in April.

The one-hour broadcast kicks off 11 weeks of Viper Cup series action on the network.

Participants included IndyCar and NASCAR team owner Roger Penske and NASCAR stars Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. SRT CEO and president Ralph Gilles was behind the wheel, as was Dodge engineer Matt Bejnarowicz.

The rest of the field consisted of drift and supercross competitors, TORC truck pilots and monster-truck drivers. A few Viper Cup series hot shoes were thrown in for good measure.

The 24 drivers were split into 12 two-man teams that spent 50 minutes total behind the wheel. A mandatory pit stop and driver change were made somewhere in the middle.

"This was truly a once in-a-lifetime collaboration for us at Dodge Motorsports and Mopar," Gilles said. "Seeing the diverse driving talent on the track was incredible and showed the passion and dedication our group of drivers has for the Chrysler Group and our various racing efforts."

The top three finishing teams donated to the following charities:

-- Haiti Rescue Effort, $5,000

-- National Breast Cancer Coalition, $5,000

-- Shriners Hospital, $3,000

-- Tarrant Area Foodbank, $3,000

-- Children's Rare Disease Network, $1,000

-- National Breast Cancer Foundation, $1,000

By Jake Lingeman