Area 81 Racing Team Tames Indy at the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs

The Waterfall/Area 81 team drivers Tim Pierce & Richard Franklin became one of just a few thousand individuals to actually race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The accomplishment is even more impressive considering “The Racing Capital of the World” has been in existence over 100 years. The team traveled 1500 miles, practiced & qualified for 10 days to finally race at the ultimate event in Amateur Road Racing; the SCCA National Championship Runoffs. Tim Pierce put the 18 car in 7th position out of 18 in qualifying and finished 8th in the race. After a late withdrawal by another competitor, he ended up on the Pole for the North American Formula 1000 Championship & won Round 11 in the series. Richard Franklin fulfilled a dream to drive his # 81 F1000 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and qualified 15th. He finished #14th out of 18 F1000’s in the race and 4th in the NAF1000 series.

Each competitor had one qualifying session per day over four days to determine the starting grid for the race. Unfortunately the sessions were combined with another class, making it difficult to get a clear lap. Braking hard into Turn 1 during Q2 Richard’s rear wheels locked up & the rear end stepped out, sending him nose first into the wall. His Young Racing crew spent the next 24 hours repairing the damage. Tim discovered an issue with his rear differential on the morning of Q3, causing him to miss the session while parts were flown in overnight for the repair. The race began with a split start with the Prototypes in the 1st group & F1000 in the 2nd group. The field made it through Turn 1 safely, but traffic in the tight turn put Tim two positions back in the order. Because it was the final race of the day, track conditions were quite poor. With oil in several turns, a blown engine & fire, and a T-bone collision with injury, the race was somewhat chaotic. Local caution flags eventually gave way to full course caution, then Red/Black flags, so the race was checkered after 14 laps of 18 scheduled.

Tim Pierce, Car 18 – “We are honored to be amongst the very few to have competed at Indy. It is very humbling to know that we walked in the same footsteps of racing legends and be able to tell future generations. While I don’t feel that I drove my best race, I improved my finishing position from 10th at the Runoffs in 2015 at Daytona to 8th this year at Indy. We are clearly a team that is on the rise and I’m extremely thankful to have such great support from my crew, family, and sponsors. Offseason preparations begin today and we have some exciting plans in the works for 2018.”
Richard Franklin, Car 81 – “The statement “I’m Living the Dream..Thanks for all of your help!“ has been my radio call to the Area 81 Racing crew every time I’ve gone out on a race track for the last 10 years. However when I said it on September 30th 2017 at the SCCA Runoffs it was extra special. Saturday will always be in my mind as a fantastic final chapter & bookend to my F1000 racing career. I’ve watched Indy & Formula 1 legends race open wheel Formula cars at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I still cannot believe that I have been fortunate enough to drive my F1000 there. I was not as competitive during the week as I would have liked, but I enjoyed the experience immensely. Many thanks to all who have supported myself, Tim & the Area 81 Racing Team for the past 10 years.”

Special thanks to our Area 81 Racing sponsors Waterfall Security Solutions, The Franklin Insurance Agency, and Briky Coolers. The official results of the NAF1000 Championship season standings are forthcoming. Check out Richard’s Car # 81 final in-car video here → Stay tuned to and our FaceBook Page → for highlights.