When the green flag dropped, Car 81 had a great opening and passed seven competitors down the straight going into turn 1. Car 18 was trapped on the outside and a late move to the inside only gained two positions. Tim sliced through the field until lap 7 when he spotted Richard two cars ahead, but he would battle a pesky Formula Enterprise through traffic for 8 more laps. The chase ensued for 4 laps until Tim made a move on the inside of turn 1 on lap 19, which resulted in a partial spin with two wheels off. Tim quickly recovered but the pesky FE got by in the scrum. It was a short fight with the FE this time as he passed in turn 9 and was back in sight of Car 81 by the end of the lap. Tim finally maneuvered into the lead during a drag race down the straight on lap 21, but the battle was not over. Lapped traffic in turn 5 allowed Richard one more shot at a pass in turn 6. He stuck the nose into the inside on the entrance of the turn. Tim’s right rear tire scrubbed Richard’s front left tire and car 81 spun. Tim went on to take the checker in his first SCCA National win and Richard finished second, but it was another storied battle between the two drivers at Roebling Road Raceway. This was the final Tom Nehl National event, so that’s another one for the record books.
Tim Pierce, Car 18 – “I knew when we elected to start from the rear that we could have a lot of fun or it could be very frustrating. Richard found a clear lane at the start and got up to the front of the pack. I had to buckle down and work my way through, which took almost half the race. The cars slower cars made me fight for every position. Richard’s car was a little faster during practice so I thought he’d run away with it. I was surprised to see him, but knew I had a chance when I saw him in lap 7. We both tried to make moves that probably weren’t there and spun the cars as a result. If you don’t want to win then you’re in the wrong sport. It was a dogfight until the very end. My crew and I needed a good showing after a blown engine and finishing 4th the last time we were here.”
Richard Franklin, Car 81 – “ Congrats to Tim on his first National SCCA win. A good weekend, ending slightly bad is how I would sum up the 2013 Tom Nehl. Friday & Saturday were spent leak-checking my new GSXR powerplant and refining the set-up for the new Hoosiers. My car was fast in the cool temps and I was within ½ a second of my fast time in October’s SIC. For Sunday’s race, I was able to pass 7 cars at the start. Unfortunately, warmer temps and a low downforce setting would play havoc with grip in the later stages of the race. After a heated battle, Tim passed me cleanly. Later, I saw an opening with lapped traffic and I made a committed move to the inside of turn 6, but the space was simply not there. No one to blame, that’s simply racing.
The Formula 1 track, Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas awaits the Area 81 Racing Team on March 9th and 10th. This world class 3.5 mile road course is the new home of the US Grand Prix and held its inaugural F1 race in 2012. This will be the first SCCA event at the venue and will surely make history. Stay tuned to www.Area81Racing.com for more information.