- Created: Monday, 08 October 2012 22:21
[This article originally appeared on October 8, 2012 at driveSRT.com]
There are only three people in the world who scare former professional wrestler/football player-turned-actor Bill Goldberg. One is his mother. The second is his wife. And the third - Cindi Lux. That's right, the driver coach and leader of the SRT® Viper Cup celebrity driver program. Lux had Goldberg behind the wheel of one of her SRT Viper ACR-X race cars in the season-opening SRT Viper Cup event at Road Atlanta in April, and she half-jokingly, half-seriously, laid down the law with the hulking 6-foot-4 Goldberg.
"I had gotten on the radio and told him, 'If you hit our sister car, I'm going to basically rip you out of there and go for your jugular,'" said Lux with a chuckle. "It was hilarious. He was the biggest pussycat in the world, and was great all weekend. He is just an awesome guy."
For the ultra-competitive Goldberg, it was not so much about where he finished on the track, but rather the experience he gained in the SRT Viper ACR-X and the good time that he had. The invitation to be one of the celebrity drivers for Road Atlanta came on short notice, and he had limited time on the track to get up to speed, but he quickly adapted to the race car and enjoyed every minute behind the wheel.
"First and foremost, to get back with Cindi Lux and Lux Performance was a dream come true," said Goldberg. "She was my first driving coach, so to be able to go there and represent the celebrities and be coached by her and to be driving such a wonderful car was just awesome."
"I always knew the Viper was a very powerful car," noted Goldberg. "The handling though was absolutely unbelievable. I think the biggest thing that I took away was that you put as much trust as you can in the car, and then add a lot more. That car is an absolute dream. I've driven a lot of cars and it was an honor to drive the Viper and be part of that event."
Lux stresses to the celebrity drivers to be mindful of their surroundings when they are on the race track, and to remember that there are about a dozen other cars and drivers out there along with them. That sentiment certainly was not lost on Goldberg, as he knew he was there to have fun and help a good cause. He consistently turned faster laps as the weekend progressed.
"Cindi helped me have more confidence in myself out there," shared Goldberg. "I'm my own worst critique by all means. She's been able to open my eyes that there are some skills behind the wheel that I possess. In a situation like that when you go out against guys who are fighting for points and a series championship, you don't want to get in anyone's way. I think the main thing that I learned after that weekend and after dealing with Cindi was to not pay attention to my rearview mirror. End of story."
The SRT Viper Cup Series Presented by Pennzoil Ultra pairs Viper owners against each other in race-ready SRT Viper ACR-X race cars. The Viper ACR-X combines the best performance attributes of the record-setting street-legal SRT Viper with the safety equipment of the championship-winning Viper Competition Coupe. Some of the most challenging road courses in the country greet the series during doubleheader race weekends. Celebrity drivers are invited to compete at each event, with their winnings donated to charity.
Along with Goldberg, veteran open wheel driver Richie Hearn, multi-time Trans-Am champion and current SRT Viper GTS-R driver Tommy Kendall, Canadian television personality Peter Klutt, author Burt Levy, experienced road racer Shane Lewis, actor/stunt coordinator Darrin Prescott and Hall of Fame road racer Elliott Forbes-Robinson have all been celebrity drivers this year with the SRT Viper Cup, which marks its third year of operation in 2012.
"It's a very special program and I am so proud to be a part of it," said Lux. "We have a lot of diversity with the drivers. Some of the drivers have experience and some don't. It's fun to work with so many different people who come from such diverse backgrounds. We've really been reaching out to new people and introducing them to the Viper and the SRT brand. It's a fun program to be a part of."
Lewis turned in the best finish of any of the celebrity drivers thus far in 2012, winning both rounds at Virginia International Raceway in July. Not far behind was Hearn, who scored a runner-up finish in the second race at Road America in May. Kendall landed on the podium in the finale at VIR. Klutt found himself on the podium in the first race at Monticello Motor Club in New York, in August, and was fourth in the finale of that event. Forbes-Robinson recorded fourth- and fifth-place showings at Monticello. Levy turned in a couple of consistent performances in the season-opening event at Road Atlanta, coming home eighth and ninth.
Lux Performance Group has managed the SRT Viper Cup celebrity driver program since its inception three years ago. Participants hit the track in a pair of SRT Viper ACR-X racing machines, built and prepared by lead engineer and crew chief Fred Lux and his well-trained crew.
Since the SRT Viper Cup celebrity driver program began, over $125,000 has been raised for charity. At each race, the celebrity driver's winnings are donated to the charity of the series or the driver's personal charity of choice.
"It's really cool to help raise and donate so much money," shared Lux. "We've made an impact and everyone has a great time at the track as well. All the drivers are so receptive of the charity aspect of it, and that certainly makes everything worthwhile."
A pair of events remains on the 2012 SRT Viper Cup Series calendar at Watkins Glen International in New York, October 20-21, with the celebrity drivers for that event to be announced at a later date.