Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, entered their 2nd Summit Racing – American Endurance Racing event of the season at the beautiful Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Friday was practice and qualifying. The team spent the morning working on set up to suit the twisty Mid-Ohio course. In the afternoon Team Sahlen was able to get in some laps right after lunch before the track got crowded with the full 60+ car field. By seizing this opportunity, Team Sahlen was able to place their #41 “Retro” Audi R8 on the Pole Position for Saturday’s race.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after qualifying – “We worked really hard all day on the set up of Audi. I kept coming in and making change after change to fine tune the R8. In the end I feel we were able to have a race car that was not only fast, but good in traffic as well. I think securing the Pole Position was just a bonus to the whole day’s activities.”
On Saturday morning, the warm 75 degrees of Friday made way for 33 degree temperatures. This made for some rather tricky conditions for all cars on track, but most especially for the Team Sahlen racers with the large 18” tires. Both Will and Wayne took their time at the start of the race, waiting for the tires to fully come up to pressure and temperature. Patience paid off as soon the #41 “Retro” was in the lead at the 2 hour mark when Will handed the Audi over to Joe Sahlen.
Team Sahlen continued to pace the field in 1st and 4th place through the 6 hour mark. An unfortunate incident at the 6 ½ hour mark saw “Retro” retire from the race. This left the charge up to the #42 “Saucy” Porsche Cayman GT4/PDK. And to the finish, “Saucy” secured 3rd OVERALL and in Class 5.
After Saturday’s race, it was concluded that “Retro” would be retired for the weekend. With Team Sahlen’s back plan of the “Lunatic” Porsche Cayman GT4/PDK haven already had a mechanical failure on Friday’s Practice Day, there looked to be no options available. But the Team Sahlen crew is not one to just give up, and it was soon decided that the best option was to drive back to the team’s shop in Canton, Ohio (90 minutes away) to pick up the venerable “Salt” Porsche Cayman and run it on Sunday. The momentous effort was having “Salt” at the track and prepped for the next day’s race was finally completed at 10:30 pm on Saturday night.
Sunday’s 8 hour enduro saw the same chilly air as Saturday, but for good measure Mother Nature also threw in a slightly wet track to add to the excitement. And to emphasize how tricky it was, there were over 6 cars that spun on the pace laps, with 2 of those cars hitting the wall even before the Green Flag flew. Fortunately, the veteran drivers at Team Sahlen used their many years of experience to persevere through the opening laps to stay clear of danger.
Sunday’s race followed the same pattern as Saturday’s race with zero full course cautions all day. This led to a very fast and exciting race, with every second lost in the pits or on track adding up in the end of day race results. The #42 “Saucy” had another solid day, securing 1 spot better to a 2nd Place OVERALL and in Class 5. This result also netted “Saucy” the 2nd Place finish for the combined weekend results. Wayne Nonnamaker especially drove a strong weekend, that resulted in him being rewarded with the runner-up in most Driver Points for the combined 16 hours of racing for the weekend.
Joe Nonnamaker shared his thoughts for the weekend – “The #42 Porsche Cayman GT4/PDK ran flawlessly all weekend long. The crew did a great job on pit stops, and Wayne was just flying on the track to bring us a solid dual podium weekend.”
#41 “Salt” Porsche Cayman had an amazing day, considering that the race car did not turn a lap on track until the start of Sunday’s enduro. There was not one issue with “Salt” all day long. And as the race progressed, it started to appear that the recently unretired racer might have a chance at the Class 3 Podium. Both Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker continued to drive solid laps with zero mistakes on track. And as the race came down to the wire, “Salt” came through with the 3rd Place Podium slot as well as 7th OVERALL for the 8 hour enduro.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race “The real MVPs of the weekend was the Team Sahlen crew. The mega effort they put in on Saturday night to get “Salt” ready to race was just amazing. Without their efforts, we could not have been able to secure 2 Podium results here on Sunday.”
The next event for Team Sahlen will be the Bell Racing – 14 Hour Fall Classic at Sebring International Raceway. There are 95+ racers entered for the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series even. Team Sahlen has entered their Porsche Boxsters for the race. At the most recent event for the Boxsters, Team Sahlen secured 1st and 3rd Overall in the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series 7 hour enduro at the Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The Bell Racing 14 Hour Fall Classic will start at 9 am on November 7th. The race will conclude at 11 pm in the dark. Sahlen Fanatics can keep up with all the action on ChampCarLive.com presented by AutoZone.
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