Team Sahlen entered the final Endurance Sports Car race of the decade at the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series season finale. The race would be held at the historic Sebring International Raceway located in Central Florida. The normal sunny skies of Florida were brushed aside by overcast clouds that seemed to hang over the track the entire weekend. The clouds and intermittent showers did not dampen the spirits of Team Sahlen, as the crew and drivers looked forward to the yearend racing adventure.
The weekend started off with a Test Session on Friday, where Team Sahlen was able to shake down their Porsche Boxsters for the event. Both the #942 “Ketchup” and the #943 “Mustard” were tested and readied for Saturday’s 7 hour enduro.
There were over 80 race cars entered for the weekend, which made for a very packed race track. Add into the mix, the dynamic of intermittent showers, and the Team Sahlen drivers of Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker, Will Nonnamaker and Wayne Nonnamaker had their hands full the entire day. Both Boxsters ran up front all day long, spending the majority of the day in the top 5. As the race drew to a close, “Mustard” was in the lead, holding onto a narrow 15 second margin over a hard charging Nissan in 2nd place. But the checkered flew, and Wayne Nonnamaker held on for the OVERALL Victory. The #942 “Ketchup” rounded out the Podium with an excellent 3rd place finish.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race – “I leaned into my many years of racing experience at Sebring, to keep up a solid pace all day. It was just enough to hold onto the victory. The crew did an amazing job all day. We didn’t miss a beat, with excellent pit stops and zero mechanical issues. That is not always easy in a 7 hour enduro. And for the crew to accomplish that task with both the #942 and #943 is a testament to their dedication and efforts.”
Sunday dawned with less rain, but still overcast skies. Team Sahlen continued to be a front running contender for the day, running solidly in the Top 5 and even leading at the mid point in the race. Several errant incidents on track put both “Ketchup” and “Mustard” behind on track. The crew and drivers at Team Sahlen did not let these setback deter them, and pushed forward to the very end. This determined focus resulted in a remarkable comeback to 4th and 5th Overall vs the 80+ car field.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race – “It was a fitting end to a great season. There was very tough competition at Sebring, and nothing was easy this weekend, especially today’s race. But everyone at Team Sahlen worked very hard today to come away with a honorable result. We ran the last stint of the race in fuel conservation mode and it leap frogged us ahead of the competition for our 4th and 5th place.”
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