Posted (03/21/2014) -
The Season Opening Continental Tire Challenge event at Daytona International Speedway was a resounding success for Team Sahlen. The team secured a 4th Place finish in the ST class on the debut event for the newly built Porsche Caymans. Additionally, the #42 racer with Wayne Nonnamaker secured the fastest race lap of the event. This result set a very standard to follow for the team leading into the 2nd round of the series at Sebring International Raceway. The entire crew at Team Sahlen were well aware that without a lot of effort between the two events, that it would be difficult to duplicate this result. So significant effort was put in to continue to make strides with the new Porsche Cayman.
Team Sahlen choose to attend the Test Day event immediately preceeding the Race weekend. This decision was a wise one, as Team Sahlen soon realized that there was still much work to be done on the set up. Great effort was put in overnight before the start of practice, with many, many changes being made to the base set up. This effort was well rewarded, with Team Sahlen securing fastest lap time in the opening Practice Session. This was then soon followed up by a 5th fastest time in the 2nd session. This led to qualifying the next day that saw the #42 and #43 go up against the 33 car ST field and net out a 4th and 25th slots in the starting grid line up.
At the start of the race, both Team Sahlen racers avoided contact with the mass start, and soon got down to business of setting consistent lap times. Joe Sahlen in the #43 racer picked his way through traffic, enjoying the tight action. Joe shared his thoughts - “This was a lot of fun. It was good, clean racing. With 33 cars in the class, there was always someone to race with. I had some great battles, and ran a full stint under green flag conditions.”
The entire 1st half of the race was run without a yellow. This saw the entire field having to make full green flag pit stops. This was true for the #42 racer as well. Will Nonnamaker struggled a bit on his tires at the end of his stint at the 1 hour and 15 minute mark. This left Will pitting in 7th place, handing the Porsche over to his brother Wayne Nonnamaker. Will shared his thoughts - “After a hour and 15 minutes, the pack got a bit strung out. We were running strong the hole time. I struggled a bit with the tires at the end, and worked hard to just keep the #43 on track.”
Wayne Nonnamaker jumped in and started laying down strong lap times right away in the #42. Then a quick yellow bunched up the pack. After clean up on track was complete, the race restarted for what appeared to be a run to the end. Unfortunately, the restart saw another incident on track, which led to a full course caution, leading to the race concluding under yellow flag. With quick pit work and Wayne’s solid laps, along with some attrition up front saw Wayne bring the #42 home in 5th place. Along the way, Joe Nonnamaker also had a strong run in the #43 racer after taking over for Joe Sahlen. This resulted in a fantastic 13th place finish.
This string of 2 solid Top 5 finishes in the 1st 2 races places the #42 racer in 3rd place in the standings. This is only 1 point out of 2nd and 11 out of 1st place. With 10 races still to go in 2014, the season is still young with plenty of racing on track still to come.
The next event for Team Sahlen will be at Mazda Raceway – Laguna Seca Raceway on May 3rd.
2014 Team Sahlen Campaign Partners:
Turbo Performance Center, Tarett Engineering, MOMO, Guard Transmission, Forgeline, Porsche of Beachwood, Pittsburgh International Race Complex, HubstandsPRO, MSI Racing Products, NGK Spark Plugs, TheRacingInsiders, CM Racing Products, Mothers Polishes, Winding Road Racing, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Maxima Oil, CV Products, Design Engineering Inc., Hella, Racing Print Media, Hard Brakes, CRC Chemicals, Penske Shocks, PFC, Optima Batteries and TheRaceSite.com.