Posted (05/01/2018) -
Team Sahlen entered their 1st race of the year with high hopes of staring off the season with success. The off season has seen Team Sahlen work to make several enhancements to their Porsche Caymans. Then as spring dawned, Team Sahlen ventured to nearby Dragway 42 for a duo of pre-race shake downs.
As Team Sahlen headed to Watkins Glen, mother nature decided that winter was not quite over. Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts of the strange weather in up state New York – “As we drove into the track on Thursday night, the weather had turned quite nasty. There was quite a downfall of snow, and the roads had become quite slippery. So slippery that our RV barely made it up the access road to the track tunnel. The next morning we couldn’t even go out to practice until after lunch due to the snowfall on the ground. Perhaps we should have called this year’s event the Sahlen’s Sports Car Winterfest at the Glen.”
The competition has continued to heat up in the American Endurance Racing Series. A full field of 80 entries saw over 20 cars in Class 5 (Overall Class) where Team Sahlen would be competing within. For qualifying, Team Sahlen was able to secure 3rd, 8th and 11th on the grid.
Saturday morning saw sunny, clear skies for the start of the 9 hour endurance event. Team Sahlen was patient at the start of the race, managing traffic in the early hours of the race. As the race neared the mid-point, Team Sahlen had risen to the front of the pack, leading many times. As the race drew to the last hour, an on track incident saw the race be red flagged. This presented a very interesting last 30 minutes of the race. Team Sahlen had completed all their pit stops and was sitting in 3rd place. 1st and 2nd in the race still had one pit stop to complete. As the race went back to green, Team Sahlen had to make quick pace to ensure that the #41 Porsche Cayman would be able to overtake 1st and 2nd while they pitted. In the end of the race, Team Sahlen won the race by a scant 14 second margin.
Sunday dawned with even brighter and warmer skies than the day before. Team Sahlen started from pole position due to the prior day victory. The 9 hour race started with lots of intense action, that included several incidents by Team Sahlen’s top competitors. Team Sahlen worked hard to keep Porsche Cayman clean from contact and turning consistently fast lap times. Joe Sahlen drove over 4 hours of the race and placed the #41 Porsche Cayman into the lead. As the race wound down to the last 30 minutes, and intense battle assumed as Team Sahlen raced pro driver Randy Pobst in a BMW. The checkered flag flew, and nail biter finish concluded with Team Sahlen taking the victory by the narrowest of margins; 1.5 seconds.
Team Sahlen’s Overall Victories on both Saturday and Sunday saw the team awarded the Overall Weekend Class 5 Award for best combined race results. Additionally, the 2 Victories brought Team Sahlen’s tally to 9 Overall Race Victories in the American Endurance Racing series.
Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts after the race – “What a fantastic race weekend. Class 5 was not only a huge field of 20 cars, but it was competitive. The crew did a fantastic job in preparing the Porsches. Our pit stops were quick and efficient, and that really helped us jump to the front. To race for a total of 18 hours and secure 2 wins by a combined amount of 16 seconds almost unfathomable.”
The next event for Team Sahlen will be the Sahlen’s Champyard DOG at the Glen to be held on Memorial Day weekend. Team Sahlen will be racing their Mazda RX-7s in the ChampCar Endurance Series dual 7 hour endurance events.
2018 Team Sahlen Campaign Partners
honeybeeBase.com, eEuroparts.com, Tarett Engineering, Guard Transmission, Porsche of Beachwood, Pittsburgh International Race Complex, HubstandsPRO, Brothers Grimm Landscaping, NGK Spark Plugs, CM Racing Products, Mothers Polish and Wax, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Design Engineering Inc., Hard Brakes, Forgeline Wheels, Lamin-X, Optima Batteries, Mazdaspeed, MSI Racing Products, Winding Road Racing and WIX Filters.