Team Sahlen finishes 2nd & 3rd – 1 car length out of 1st at Daytona 14 Hours

Team Sahlen entered the 1st event of the season at Daytona International Speedway for the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series 14 Hour event.  The team entered the #942 “Ketchup and #943 “Mustard” Porsche Boxsters. Friday was set up day at the track. All rigs rolled into the track at 11 am. And then the crew went to work unloading the hot dog racers, going through tech, setting up the paddock & pits. 

Saturday dawned with a Driver’s Meeting – immediately followed by the start of the race at 9 am.  At the Driver’s Meeting, the random pit stall draw for starting position saw Team Sahlen secure the honor of starting dead last in the 100 car field.  The Team and Drivers saw the fun challenge in coming through the pack to begin the race.

The start of the race saw crystal clear, blue skies. Starters Joe Sahlen and Joe Nonnamaker did an excellent job in making their way through the pack.  The unfortunate timing of Yellow flag / Code 35 saw Team Sahlen drop back in the order.  This placed the team still working their way into the Top 10 overall.  The team continued to battle hard, setting very strong pace on track.  Then at the mid point in the race, both Hot Dog racers made their way into the Top 10. 

The next several hours saw Team Sahlen then start to challenge for the Top 3 Podium slots.  The competition became very intense at the sharp end of the grid.  Wayne and Will Nonnamaker battled hard with the front runners, running competitive times that saw the racers make up ground and gain a gap on many in the Top 5.

In the penultimate stint that was fully in the dark, both Joe & Joe did an excellent job staying out of trouble and putting in super strong laps to keep the team in 1st and 3rd Place. 

Joe Sahlen shared his thoughts after his stint – “Wow, the Team Sahlen Boxsters were really hooked up.  The crew did an amazing job prepping the cars.  They were just as strong at the end of the race as the beginning.  And getting to drive Daytona again in the night was a great experience.”

In the last stint of the race, Wayne Nonnamaker found himself with a 5 second gap to 2nd place.  Over the last 30 minutes of the race, Team Sahlen exchanged the lead with the Premium Dudes 10-15 times.  One lap Team Sahlen would cross the finish line in 1st and the next the order would be swapped.  As the final lap concluded, Wayne was just 1 car length behind from the win. The Margin of victory was 0.136 seconds. 

Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race – “What an amazing race that was.  Battling the #32, while managing traffic and all at night.  That was an epic race, that I am sure made for great viewing both in the stands and on the live broadcast on ChampCarLive!”

Team Sahlen’s next event will be the Sahlen’s Champyard DOG at the Glen with the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series on Memorial Day weekend.

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