Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, entered their final event of the season at Sebring International Raceway with the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series. The event would be dual 7 hour enduros on Saturday and Sunday. Team Sahlen entered the race weekend on a 6 race win streak, spanning two different series and 3 different race weekends.
Friday was a full test day. This provided the team with the opportunity to shake down their Porsche Boxsters. The day was one of a bit of trepidation, as Team Sahlen had the unfortunate situation of only having junkyard motors to race with. The fear was soon founded as one of the motors let go in Ketchup.
Here is where the story of the weekend begins, as the star of the weekend was the Team Sahlen crew. Jumping into action, the Team Sahlen crew quickly installed another junkyard motor into Ketchup before the end of the Test Day. Despondingly, this motor too expired as soon as it went out on track.
This left Team Sahlen with only 1 car, “Mustard”, to run the Saturday race. Starting mid pack of the 100 car field, Joe Sahlen quickly made quick time moving to the front, settling into 5th place at the 1 hour mark. Then as the hours rolled forward in the race, Team Sahlen continually moved forward, eventually topping the charts in 1st place. Unfortunately, the “junkyard blues” struck again, as the motor went south in “Mustard” that saw retirement with only 1 hour to go.”
But the weekend wasn’t over quite yet, as Team Sahlen secured another junkyard motor. And again the start of the weekend was the Team Sahlen crew as they jumped into action to install the motor. This process took until 1 am, with many, many complications along the way including seized header bolts, seized motor that required shifting the cams, and a broken power steering seal.
As Sunday dawned, the team had hopes that all would work out. And with Wayne Nonnamaker at the wheel, “Ketchup” started in 80th place. Within 2 Laps Wayne had made it to 10th place. Then the “balloon burst”, and this junkyard motor too soon expired.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the deliriously tough weekend – “Sometimes in racing you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug. We have been very fortunate to have been the windshield with some great success in 2021. And a weekend like this is going to happen in racing from time to time. But for me the most amazing thing about this weekend was the spirit of the entire Team Sahlen crew. Facing one disappointment after another, not one member of the team put their head down and gave up. 4 motors in one weekend would depress almost anyone. But not this crew, even as we were loading up on Sunday, with the race still going on, the whole crew was laughing and joking with talk already towards the 2022 season.”
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