What some folks did to this SRT Viper at the Chicago Auto Show is just wrong

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The legendary Viper marque returned to the Rolex 24 at Daytona this year for the first time in more than a dozen years, and the new SRT Motorsports Riley-built SRT Viper GTS-R (pictured right, passing a PC class car during the night) brought home a solid third place finish in the GT Le Mans class.

It was a good spot for Viper to actually be disappointed with third place, as the polesitting No. 91 car driven by Dominik Farnbacher, Marc Goossens and Ryan Hunter-Reay was a class-winning contender before various issues including a power steering line failure cost it 10 laps.

When the Viper finished the Rolex 24, it featured glorious battle scars from racing. The dirt, grime and unkempt look of a car after 24 hours of pure, hard racing is something to treasure. And it looked like this, as I walked through the garage at the end of the race.

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Photo: Tony DiZinno

But to some people, art and the fact this is an actual race car, means nothing. What has happened this week at the Chicago Auto Show is nothing short of a disgrace, and makes you sick to see.

Here’s what has happened to the car at various points this week, via sports car and former Formula Atlantic driver Ryan Lewis, who was at the auto show.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.