Car #18 Crew Chief – Ray Pierce, discovered a slightly bent wheel just before the first qualifying session, and it became a big issue during the loading exerted under race conditions. The bent rim made contact with the brake caliper once it got hot, causing severe steering vibration. Tim would cut the session short as Richard would struggle to find a rhythm on the cold track due to a loose mirror. Both drivers were a bit slower than their normal pace. The second qualifying session took place under warmer conditions more representative of Saturday’s race. After the #18 Crew changed the bent wheel, Tim posted a career best lap time during the afternoon session. Richard improved slightly but was unsatisfied with his pace.
For the race, Richard started with an ultra-low rear wing down force setting and aggressive low fuel level in an attempt to gain a performance advantage. He had made his way up to 4th position until he began to experience fuel starvation issues just before Atlanta’s two longest straights. Tim blistered his career best times and was able to advance to 3rd place and open a 14 second gap, until the left front tire began to blister, causing sever steering vibration. Forced to back off the last 3 laps to prevent a tire failure, Tim watched an ARRC podium position vanish into the distance.
Tim – “I was extremely disappointed that we were unable to make the ARRC podium appearance, especially after making it up to 3rd. My crew and I did everything needed, but some things were beyond our control. Adversity is nothing new to our race team and we overcame it like we always have. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. The events of this weekend will continue to motivate me during the offseason. I’d rather be hungry than complacent. We’ll take a look at our race program for 2013 and make the necessary changes. I’m confident that we will emerge stronger than ever next year.”
Richard – “Qualifying Sessions 1 & 2 were a bit of a struggle as my right hand mirror loosened in both sessions. It’s a bit hard to concentrate on making my marks when you cannot see that well behind you, especially in multiple class groups. For the race, I decided on an ultra-low-down force setting, knowing I’d need to pass quite a few FE’s & FM’s to catch up to my F1000 competition. I managed to pass most of the FE’s & all of the FM’s, plus two F1000’s, but the low fuel pressure slowed me the last 3 laps of the race. Despite the challenges, I enjoyed my first ARRC appearance.
The Area 81 Racing Team season resumes February 2013 at the Tom Nehl SCCA National/Major at Roebling Road Raceway, Savannah, GA. Look for the Area 81 Racing Team Schedule in a few weeks. Stay tuned to www.Area81Racing.com or facebook for the latest updates.