Team Sahlen survives a very wet Nelson Ledges

Team Sahlen, presented by, entered the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series event at Nelson Ledges Road Course, fully expecting a mid July scorching hot and dry weekend.  Instead the team was greeted with a duluge of downpour and flooded track.  This made for even parking the rigs and set up the paddock a challenge at best.  Friday was a test day, and Team Sahlen worked on both dry and wet set up during the spurts of downpour and sunshine during the day. 

Saturday dawned with continued downpours, and treacherous track conditions.  The carousel was flooded on the inside, covering up 4 feet of the apex.  The back straightaway was flooded in the grass touching all the way up to the pavement.  Turn 12 brake zone had a very small river causing some delicate pedal control.  The front straight had a very sizeable river running right across the track before the bridge. This caused the drivers to have to lift to avoid hydroplaning into the bridge retainers. 

The Team Sahlen drivers of Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker and Will Nonnamaker used their vast years of experience to manage the ever changing track conditions and the spinning traffic on track.  At the mid point in the race, the #943 “Mustard” was able to sneak into the lead based on pit stop patterns.  The #942 “Ketchup” was also running a very solid Top 3 as well, until a slight off track excursion on track caused for a delay, moving the Boxster back to 5th at the finish.  The #943 “Mustard” continued all the way up to the end of the race contesting for the win, finally settling for 2nd place at the checkered flag.

Joe Nonnamaker shared his thoughts – “That was some very treacherous conditions.  Especially the flooding around and on the track.  In my many years of racing at Nelson, this might have been the most difficult laps I have driven here.”

Sunday dawned with blue skies and zero chance of rain in the forecast.  Additionally, the random starting order draw saw the team’s Porsche Boxsters start at the front of the grid.  This good fortune led to Team Sahlen being able to run in the Top 5 for the 1st stint of the race.  The #943 “Mustard” that had such a solid day on Saturday started to suffer from a transmission issue at the mid point, forcing the team to unfortunately retire from a very solid 4th place Overall. 

The #942 “Ketchup” fought hard all day in the Top 5.  With the race wounding down in the last 2 hours, a monumental drive by Wayne Nonnamaker saw the Porsche move from 5th to 3rd place, with a great dual in the closing laps with the RBank Honda that had won Saturday’s race. 

Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts – “What a great race at the end.  The RBank Honda was running some great laps, and we had a very close but fair race at the end there in last few laps.  Our Porsche Beachwood Boxster ran flawlessly all day to ensure we could secure this podium slot.”

The next event for Team Sahlen will be the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series event at Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course on September 11-12

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