Posted (08/20/2013) -
2013 marked the 1st time that any professional series raced on the brand new Kansas Speedway “Roval” Road Course. But, for some teams, this was not their 1st time at the course, having tested at the Speedway in the fall of 2012. Unfortunately for Team Sahlen, this was prior to them receiving their Daytona Prototypes, so this provided a slight disadvantage going into the weekend. This didn’t seem to disturbing since there was a test day before the race weekend started. But then the 1st two sessions of the Test Day were rained out, and now Team Sahlen was being placed into the difficult position of being behind schedule on set up changes to catch up to the pack. This was evident, when the last test session held at night revealed a significant miss guided prediction of what the gearing would need to be.
Come Practice time, the #42 worked hard to make progress. The same could not be said for the #43, as slight contact with the wall saw the BMW Powered machine forced to set out the entire 1 hour and half session. Qualifying at Kansas was unique with the session being at 9:45 pm
Joe Nonnamaker added his thoughts about Qualifying – “It was the most unique qualifying session I have been a part of. The start time of the session was 9:45 pm, but in reality, in Ohio time it was 10:45 pm. Thus the session ended at 11 pm at night. Except for the Chump Car race I ran this summer, I don’t think I have been up that late in a long time.”
The start of the race saw Wayne Nonnamaker hold steady in the top 10 in the DP pack. Joe Nonnamaker had a half spin that resulted in no contact from the oncoming GT pack. As the race settled into a rhythm, the race soon faced a full course caution at the 35 minute mark. The #42 pitted and rejoined the pack. And the #43 took the opportunity to get a wave by to get back on the lead lap. Two more full course cautions followed in the next hour. This allowed the #43 to not only get back on the lead lap, but sync up on fuel strategy with the leaders. This was last yellow with an hour and 15 minutes to go in the race. The #43 crew then choose to go off strategy from the rest of the Daytona Prototype Field. This saw Will Nonnamaker stay out longer before making his last pit stop. This strategy placed the #43 in the overall lead for the 1st time in 2013. Once the #43 completed its final pit, amazingly, the position on track was still in 8th place. At the conclusion of the race, Will Nonnamaker rolled across the finish line in 10th place. This was result was the 2nd Top 10 of the year, and the most competitive pace all year.
“I am so happy for everyone on the #43 crew. They work so hard every race weekend. And to be able to come out here this weekend and make such progress is really motivating for everyone. Every race it seems I am able to catch on a little bit more on how to drive a Daytona Prototype. And with such little track time due to the rain and the practice crash, it’s amazing we were able to get as close as we did on pace.” – shared Will Nonnamaker
The #42 Team Sahlen machine rolled across the finish line in 7th place. This result was a great comeback drive by Dane Cameron after the #42 machine was spun around by the #3 DP on the last restart.
Dane shared his final thoughts on the race - “I always thought that Kansas was going to be a tough race with lots of pushing and shoving and unfortunately we got caught up in something with about an hour left. For as much as we struggled through practice, recovering from being spun to finish 7th is a good recovery. The team was great on pit road so now we head to Mazda Raceway looking to redeem ourselves.”
Due to 2 straight Top 10 results by Wayne Nonnamaker and 2 unfortunately bad results for Alex Popow, the standings in the Jim Trueman Sportsman award saw a shake up. Wayne Nonnamaker has now retaken the lead in this Award with only 2 events to go.
The next event for Team Sahlen will be the Continental Tires Sports Car Festival on Saturday September 8th at 5 pm est. The 2 hour and 45 minute event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.
GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is supported by:
BMW Motorsports, Dinan Engineering, Design Engineering Inc, Penske Shocks, EMCO Gears, Racing Print Media, Mothers Polish, TheRaceSite.com, PFC Brakes, Classic Motorsports Magazine, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, BBS Wheels, and Hella Lights