Posted (10/31/2016) -
Team Sahlen concluded their 2016 season with American Endurance Racing series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This event also was the final event for the American Endurance Racing series.
Friday was set to be a test and tune day with qualifying in the afternoon to set the grid for the race. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans, and the day was bitterly cold, with downpours all day. The track was almost undriveable, and the series choose to cancel qualifying. Team Sahlen also choose to avoid the race track that had become a giant slip and slide.
Friday night was the Sahlen’s Tailgate Party. All competitors gathered at the American Endurance Racing compound for Sahlen’s Hams. Everyone enjoyed themselves as the skies cleared going into the evening.
Race day dawned early on Saturday morning. The Driver’s Meeting was held in the dark at the chilly morning hour of 6:45 am. The race started at 8 am. The Team Sahlen #43 entry attacked early and led the early portions of the race. The 8 ½ hour enduro became a sprint race between the Sahlen Porsche Cayman and the #364 Chevrolet Corvette entry. By the end of the race, Team Sahlen missed out on the victory by just under a lap. A fine 2nd place was a just reward for the crew on a day when the high temperature was 45 degrees.
Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts - “This was a lot of fun today. We had a really good race with the #364 Corvette. We would be ahead, then they would be ahead. The racing was very clean today, with only 2 full course cautions. 2nd place is a very good result for the start of the weekend.”
This event was the 1st race for Team Sahlen to be racing their new #41 Porsche Cayman. And with any 1st time race, there were teething issues with the entry. The crew worked hard to solve the issues with the PDK transmission, and had the entry back on track at the end of the race ensuring it would be ready for Sunday’s race
The Sunday race started just the same as Saturday, at 8 am. This day dawned a much warmer day, with the temperature rising all the way up to 66 degrees. Team Sahlen was again in the thick of the race for the overall victory. On this day, the #44 entry was leading the charge for Team Sahlen vs the #364 Corvette and the #82 BMW. At about the mid point in the race, Team Sahlen encountered some traffic that saw significant damage to the front end. As the Porsche Cayman came down pit road with the hood in the air, it looked like the day might be through for the #44 entry. But the never say die attitude of the Team Sahlen crew led to quick thinking and even quicker repair work. Only 2 laps were lost in the incident. From this point forward, the #44 entry pushed forward, pushing the #82 BMW entry to the finish. Unfortunately, the 2 laps lost early on could not be made up, and Team Sahlen crossed the line in 2nd place overall.
Team Manager Tim Weyer shared his thoughts – “I am so proud of the crew. When the #44 came into the pits with its hood up, no one panicked. The crew just went to work solving the issue at hand and back on the track again in a very short period of time. To secure 2 runner up spots 2 days in a row is a great achievement and conclusion to our 2016 race season.”
The continued teething with the new #42 Porsche Cayman entry saw some lows and highs and lows again. An early mechanical issue put the Cayman behind the wall, then the entry re-entered the track to set some blistering laps that were the fastest of the day to that point. Then another teething mechanical issue arose, putting the entry out of the race for good for the weekend.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts on his brief stint behind the wheel of the #42 Cayman – “What a thrill this Porsche was to drive. In the brief 40 minutes I had to get some seat time behind the wheel, I really enjoyed myself. As we get this Cayman sorted out, it is going to be a blast to drive and a real threat for overall victory each time it hits the track in 2017.”
As the 2016 season wraps up, Team Sahlen can reflect back on a season where several wins were achieved. The most significant accomplishment being securing overall victory in 3 different Endurance Sports Car Series: American Endurance Racing, World Racing League and ChumpCar Series.
2016 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, Alcon Rotors, Lamin-X, Optima Batteries, Mazdaspeed and TheRaceSite.com.