Posted (04/27/2017) -
For the 2nd year in a row, Team Sahlen secured overall victory at the Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen. In last year’s event, Team Sahlen faced stiff competition from the American Endurance Racing competitors. And this year was no different, with 12 of the 80 competitors being the top Group 5 class racing for Overall Victory.
There was a Test Day scheduled for Thursday that Team Sahlen choose to attend to shake down their Porsches that had not been raced since October of 2016. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, with a fog so thick and strong, that no cars were able to get on track all day except for 2 exploratory laps. Joe Nonnamaker shared his thoughts on this dramatic turn of nature – “We have been at track under some rather extreme conditions. This includes snow, sleet, tornado, flooding, and even heat waves catching the grass on fire. But never have we been to a track where a fog set in during the morning and never lifted all day. At the best, visibility was 100 yards away. At its worst, you couldn’t see over 30 yards away. Thankfully it was not a race day, as the whole even would have been cancelled.”
Friday’s practice and qualifying day saw Team Sahlen’s Wayne Nonnamaker place the #43 Cayman on Pole Position. The #44 & #41 Cayman’s secured 4th and 5th on the grid.
Come Saturday Morning, the skies were overcast, but with a dry track which made all the racers happy. Starting on pole allowed for a clear track for Team Sahlen. Tough competition though saw the #43 settle into 2nd place as the #64 BMW had a great start and set some blistering lap times. But Team Sahlen knew that the Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen is a 9 hour race. The team quickly settled into a solid race pace, worked on efficient pit stops, and focused on great race strategy. Fighting all race long in the top 3, Team Sahlen saw themselves a lap down with 30 minutes to go in the race. Team Sahlen though has a never say die attitude. This attitude was evident as driver Wayne Nonnamaker fought hard to unlap himself from the #99 BMW. Wayne accomplished this, and then soon thereafter, a full course caution came out, allowing Wayne to get the full lap back. Several additional full course cautions allowed Wayne to leap frog further and further through the pack, With just 10 minutes remaining, Wayne passed the #99 for the lead. No sooner did Wayne pass for the lead, and a lap later another full course caution came out, thus ending the race under yellow to the checkered flag.
Wayne shared his thoughts after the race – “That was quite a race at the end. To have run for 9 hours and the Overall Victory come down to a pass in the last 10 minutes, that is really good racing. I really enjoyed myself out there today. I got to tip my hat to the crew. They worked extra hard to get us to the track with such excellent prepared Porsches. And then to execute flawless pit stops. All of this allowed us to be in that position at the end of the race.”
Sunday’s Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen saw Team Sahlen again starting from the front due #43’s Saturday Overall Victory. Additionally, Team Sahlen had been able to utilize Saturday’s race to work out some new car bugs in the #41 Porsche Cayman.
Team Manager Tim Weyer shared his thoughts on the #41 Cayman “We worked through 2 separate issues on the #41 on Saturday. The car was in and out of the garage all day. Finally after the last 9 hours, it had appeared we had solved all of our bugs. Everyone had their fingers doubly crossed at the start on Sunday, hoping everything was fixed. But a 9 hour race is a long time, and we were just hoping we had solved all the items.”
For Sunday, the cloudy skies and breezy air had gone away. And instead all of the American Endurance Racing competitors were treated to sunny blue New York skies with temperatures in the mid 60s.
As the race evolved past the 3 hour mark, Team Sahlen had moved into a very nice 1-2 in the overall standings. This 1-2 position continued into the 5 hour, until an unfortunate incident for the #43 saw the Cayman retire from the race. This left the honor for Team Sahlen to secure the Overall Victory to the #41 Cayman. The drivers in this Cayman were Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker. The duo had been keeping a very swift pace all day. And at the 8 hour mark, they found themselves with a 4 lap lead. At the race drew to a close, Joe Sahlen drove the #41 across the finish line securing the checkered flag and 1st overall.
Joe shared his thoughts on the race – “That was a really fun race today. Watkins Glen is my home track, and with Sahlen’s sponsoring the race, this made for an extra special victory.”
Will additional chimed in with his thoughts – “I am so proud of the crew. Their dedication to never giving up on working out the new car bugs on Saturday allowed us to field the #41. And this was the key to victory today. Joe drove a fantastic race today. He was behind the wheel for 5 of the 9 hours. And this is in addition his time in the car on Saturday. His lap times at the end of the race as he drove to the checkered were really strong and great effort by him secured us the victory.”
Team Sahlen’s next race will be the Sahlen’s Chumpyard DOG at the Glen event with the ChumpCar World Series. The dual 7 hour races will be held over the Memorial Day weekend. The event will have over 100 race cars on track at once. Team Sahlen will be entering their trio of Mazda RX7s: #941- Charcoal, #942-Ketchup & #943-Mustard.
2017 Team Sahlen Campaign Partners
eEuroparts.com, Tarett Engineering, Guard Transmission, Porsche of Beachwood, Pittsburgh International Race Complex, HubstandsPRO, Brothers Grimm Landscaping, NGK Spark Plugs, CM Racing Products, Mothers Polishes, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Design Engineering Inc., Hard Brakes, Forgeline Wheels, Alcon Rotors, Lamin-X,