The Runoffs’ Contender: Eric Prill

In 2015 at Daytona International Speedway, Eric Prill was spun out. That’s racing, you could say. Well, it was the SCCA Runoffs and he was leading in F Production. At Mid-Ohio in early June, he qualified on pole in the SCCA U.S. Majors race. A mistake and mechanical gremlins plagued the weekend. Because these two events prove he has the exceptional talent (and back luck cannot continue forever), don’t be surprised if he takes home a National Championship in September during the 2016 Runoffs presented by Garmin VIRB. With the high expectations we all have for Eric Prill, we caught up with him to dig a little deeper.

MM: Tell us about your racing career
EP: I grew up watching my dad race and had the opportunity to take his Lotus Super 7 through an SCCA driver’s school as a high school graduation present. I didn’t actually get my license until 1995 and raced his Lotus through 2009. It served me well and was a great way for my father, who battled MS until he passed away in 2010, a way to continue racing, even if only vicariously. The highlight for me in the Lotus was earning the Runoffs pole in 2008 and finishing on the podium in 2009.

I sold the Lotus in late 2010 with the proceeds going toward a Miata build. I’d talked with my friend Jesse Prather often about what we’d do differently on a new FP Miata build and incorporated it into mine. Not everything worked as hoped or expected, but it’s been a good developmental tool for Jesse Prather Motorsports (JPM) and the car has really been great for me. I really enjoy driving the Miata. I always say that in F Production, while it’s not the best at anything, it’s pretty good at everything. That makes it a solid performer at any track. This car was my street car, and had more than 180,000 street miles before it became a race car. It has won more than 70 percent of the Nationals and Majors it’s competed in; it’s been on the front row at the Runoffs three times and finished on the podium at the Runoffs four times in five tries.

MM: What are some learning lessons you can share for aspiring racers in the SCCA?
EP: You can learn something from everyone you come across. Sometimes this is what to do and sometimes this is what NOT to do! You never stop learning. In amateur racing, I believe preparation is critical. Being prepared with a consistent regimen will help minimize the silly mistakes and failures. Mistakes and failures will still happen, but they happen less to people that are prepared. Many of us are the driver, crew chief, engineer, truck driver, cook, etc., which means there is a lot to do at the track. Having a car that’s ready to go with a plan for the weekend keeps you from making mistakes along the way.

Also, there are great resources from the pros out (Behind the Zoom features and more) there that we have at our fingertips as amateur racers and weekend mechanics. Use them!

Who has been the biggest help for you to achieve your success?
I’ve been lucky enough to have friends that really know what they’re doing. My dad taught me a great deal on how to work on the Lotus, but neither of us was a professional mechanic and in that case you simply don’t know what you don’t know. Having race professionals and mechanics that are in my circle of friends has been a tremendous help in getting me from the middle of the pack and frequently broken down on the side of the road to the front with good reliability.

Also, being immersed in racing for the last 20 years professionally has taught me a great deal. I’ve had the ability to watch professionals, both on the track and in the paddock, and have picked up a lot. There is a lot of evidence to show that immersion is the best way to learn anything, be it a language, craft, musical instrument, sport, etc. I don’t think that racing is any different.

MM: What are your goal(s) for 2016 and beyond?
EP: I try to win every time I go to a race. Sometimes, you’ll go to a race where maybe you don’t have anyone to run with. I still push because the competitive side of me always wants to improve; to make the car handle better; to drive better; to run faster lap times. I would certainly like to win the Runoffs, but it’s not as important to me as it was five years ago. That race has always been very tough for me because there are other responsibilities that require my full attention. That doesn’t let me focus on the racing like other people might. It’s certainly a goal, but not the only goal.

Outside of the Runoffs, I’m also trying to have a bit more fun with it and trying not to take it so seriously. That’s tough when you’re competitive by nature, but my son is to an age now that I’d like for him to experience racing in the same fun way that I did as a kid.

MM: What are you doing to accomplish your goals?
EP: Keeping the car well prepared. Tweaking small things to find a little more performance. Trying to be in decent shape physically by jogging and swimming.

MM: Your car carries a logo on it with a special message behind it. Talk about Maxton’s Fight.
EP: My 5 year old son Maxton has been battling leukemia since late 2013. For treatments, he dons a cape with the Lightning-bolt “M” on it and becomes “SuperMax” – a little superhero that fights cancer. His strength and courage fighting this has given us strength. My wife Robin and I started a volunteer-based charitable foundation to support families with children battling life-threatening diseases, as well as the organizations that offer comfort and support items to the children, like the cape Max received early in his treatment. Our foundation website is at

(MM: For our reader of this article – For those who know Eric, you know he is a true role model. We encourage you to get to know him and his story. We also encourage you to learn more about Maxton – a true inspiration of courage – by visiting

Related Feature: The Runoffs’ Contender: Justin Hille