Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, entered the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Friday was an optional Test Day, and Team Sahlen utilized the opportunity to not only test their “Ketchup” & “Mustard” Porsche Boxsters for the ChampCar event, but to also bring out their “Salt” & “Pepper” Porsche Caymans in preparation for the upcoming Summit Racing – American Endurance Racing event at Mid-Ohio in October. The Test Day was beautiful blue skies, and team was able to get in some very quality laps around the track.
The drivers for the weekend were Joe Sahlen & Will Nonnamaker in the “Ketchup” entry and Joe & Wayne Nonnamaker in the “Mustard”. This lineup had proven to be strong throughout 2021, with several OVERALL victories already to date.
Saturday dawned with beautiful blue skies and dry track, which is exactly how Team Sahlen likes to go racing. With 80 entries, managing traffic would be essential. Especially with Team Sahlen having the “bind draw” starting slot of 41st and 42nd. With steady pace and staying out of trouble, both Team Sahlen entries were in the lead at the 2 hour mark. Then after securing the lead, Team Sahlen had a fantastic hour 2-4 and pulled out a 4 lap lead on 3rd place. From the halfway point in the race till the checkered flag at hour 8, Team Sahlen focused hard on hitting their marks on track, and having super clean pit stops. This dedicated effort sat Team Sahlen secure a “photo finish” of 1st and 2nd Place OVERALL at the Checked Flag.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the amazing race – “You dream about this scenario, you hope you will be in a position to have such a result, but in racing it rarely happens. But today the skies were blue and the wind blew right for us, and here we are with one of these magical days with a 1st and 2nd Place OVERALL. The competition in the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series is very strong, and some of the best racers in the series were here today. We feel very fortunate to have such a result.”
Sunday dawned again with beautiful blue skies and dry track. On this day, the “Ketchup” entry would start a lap down due to the Saturday victory. This lap was quickly snatched back by a super great 1st stint by Joe Sahlen passing the leader to get back on the same lap. The “Mustard” entry had a bit of altercation on the track, that saw rear quarter damage and slipping back a bit. But just like Saturday, Team Sahlen kept focused on the task at hand and was sitting in 1st and 2nd place OVERALL at the 2 hour mark. This pace continued, with Team Sahlen staying in 1st and 2nd at the 4 hour mark. At this point, the “Ketchup” entry had a mechanical issue that put it back in the garage for the rest of the day. This left the “Mustard” entry to uphold the honor of the team. And for the next 3 hours, the “Mustard” entry did just that. The end of the race was not without excitement though, as the RBank Honda entry was able to cleverly adjust their pit stop strategy to skip a fuel stop, thus negating 5 minutes in the pits. This placed the CRX only 30 seconds back with 45 minutes to go. Wayne Nonnamaker was able to put down some very solid laps that ensured that Team Sahlen was able to retain margin and cross the checkered flag in 1st place OVERALL. For Team Sahlen, this was the 1st time accomplishing the dual weekend victory in the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race – “Wow, to secure OVERALL Victory 2 days in a row, with each of our Porsche Boxsters is amazing. Mid-Ohio is the home track for our Nonnamaker family, and I think we have over 1000 laps around this track. That knowledge certainly helped as we raced the RBank Honda at the end of the race.”
The next event for Team Sahlen will be the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series event at Pittsburgh Intenational Race Complex. The event will start on Friday – October 1st with an open test and tune. Then Saturday will be an 8 hour enduro starting at 9 am. Sunday will be a 7 hour enduro. The races will be televised on Champcarlive – https://www.youtube.com/c/ChampCarEnduranceSeries/videos
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