Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, entered their 2nd event of the season at Watkins Glen International in the Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen with the Summit Racing – American Endurance Racing series. The team spent Friday working on fine tuning their set ups on both the #43 “Retro” and #42 “Pepper”. The efforts of the crew were rewarded as both the Audi R8 GT3 LMS Ultra and the Porsche Cayman GT4 secured pole position in both Class 5 and Class 4.
Saturday morning dawned with dark skies and rain drizzle coming down. During the early 1st hour of the race, both Team Sahlen racers contested at the front of the field. A spin in the #42 “Pepper” saw slight contact with the wall that resulted in a loose radiator fitting and a trip to the garage.
The #43 “Retro” continued making great progress leading the pack. Always in the Top 3 overall. In mid afternoon, the track dried out, and the pace picked up for everyone. The battle between Random Vandals BMW and Team Sahlen’s Audi became very intense. Then in the final hour of the race, the rains came back, and multiple yellow ensued. The final yellow flag came at the end of the race, with 1 lap green flag dash to the checkered flag. Joe Sahlen led the pack to green, and ran the lap of his life in damp conditions to hold off the Random Vandals BMW by less than a second at the Checkered Flag.
Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts after the race – “What an amazing race. This might be the most memorable drive of my racing through the years. The Random Vandals BMW is a formidable competitor, and I knew that I had to hit my marks in every turn on the last lap to hold them off. And being on a damp track did not make the task any easier. Wow and to have this win come at our home track of Watkins Glen in the Sahlen’s Sports Car Springfest at the Glen just makes it all the more special.”
Sunday dawned with sunny skies. Both Team Sahlen racers were ready to go and took the start. And for the 1st 2 hours of the event, both the #43 “Retro” and #42 “Pepper” battled in the Top 3 in the Class 5 and 4 respectively. At the 3 hour mark, contact with the wall put the #42 “Pepper” out of the race for the 2nd day in a row. This left the honor of Team Sahlen to be upheld by the Audi R8 GT3 LMS Ultra. And as the hours counted on, the #43 “Retro” continued to lay down solid fast laps. The blue skies and dry track gave way to cold, rainy weather at the 6 hour mark. The track became almost undriveable at one point, with many, many cars sliding off in the infamous blue armco of the Glen. Wayne Nonnamaker, grasping the perspective of a 3 lap lead with 30 minutes to go, cautiously made his way around the track, hydroplaning several times each lap. As the very wet checkered flag flew, the
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts – “In all my years of racing, this has to be one of the most diabolical conditions I have faced. The Audi was hydroplaning several times a lap. There was a lot of oil on the track, making it very slippery. I am just glad we were able to come home in one piece,,and also collect the OVERALL victory along the way.”
With the double victory, Wayne Nonnamaker moved to the top of the Stable Energies Driver Championship in the Summit Racing – American Endurance Racing Series. Additionally, Joe Sahlen leaped to 5th in the standings. As well, the #43 “Retro” moved up to the lead in the Team Championship in the series.
The next event for Team Sahlen will be the May 29th and 30th Sahlen’s Champyard DOG at the Glen with the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series.
2021 Team Sahlen Campaign Partners
honeybeeBase.com, Porsche Beachwood, Audi Mentor, ECS Tuning, Tarett Engineering, Guard Transmission, , HubstandsPRO, Maxima Racing Oil, Brothers Grimm Landscaping, NGK Spark Plugs, CM Racing Products, Mothers Polish, Grassroots Motorsports Magazine, Design Engineering Inc., Hard Brakes, Forgeline Wheels, Optima Batteries, All-Fit Automotive, Mazdaspeed, Winding Road Racing, Performance Friction Brakes & WIX Filters.