Area 81 Racing celebrated Mother’s Day on the Podium at Watkins Glen International, turning in a 5th and 3rd place finish for the second time this season. Tim Pierce put the #81 JDR in 5th place in Race 1 and 3rd place in Race 2, while improving on his personal best lap time by more than 3 seconds. Race 1 had perfect weather for making horsepower with cool temperatures and sunny skies, but Mother Nature paid another visit on Sunday in the form of persistent rain and frigid temperatures.
What started as a sure 4th in Race 1 ended with a less enthusiastic 5th place. A competitor who qualified 0.012 seconds ahead of the 81 car pulled over with an apparent mechanical issue during the pace lap. With no one challenging from behind Tim reduced pace, unaware that the competitor was once again at full speed and gaining quickly. He picked up the pace once again but was unable to hold the position to the checker flag.
Race 2 on Sunday proved to be bittersweet, as each competitor braved the cold and wet conditions. Tim kept pace with the top three and eventually found himself in 2nd after a competitor spun. He was unable to hold position and spun in Turn 9 on the last lap, backing his car into the tire wall. It was ruled a 3rd place finish, because everyone behind him had been lapped by the leaders.
Tim Pierce, driver #81 – “What a heartbreaking way to finish the weekend. We let a few opportunities slip away and then wrecked on the last lap. I wasn’t injured and the damage to the car is manageable, so it definitely could have been worse. I had gone through Turn 9 using the rain line the previous 13 laps, but the track was drying. On the last lap, I dropped a little too low at the apex and must have lost traction on the painted line. I tried to spin the car back around but the front tires gained traction and I went backwards into the wall.”
The team will take a short break as the series heads to Mid Ohio on June 28th. They will resume the 2019 schedule at Virginia International Raceway on July 27th. Stay tuned for more updates.