World Racing League Dual 8 Hour Endurance Races
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course – September 22-23, 2018
The weekend started off on a strange foot. There was no practice or qualifying on held on Friday, so the only activity was in the evening was Tech inspection for the race cars and a Driver’s meeting. This meant no time to shake down the team’s Mazda RX7 and Porsche Cayman in preparation for the World Racing League Dual 8hr. The good news for Team Sahlen is that both cars had been on the chassis dyno as well as driven around the shop parking lot, so there was that.
Saturday dawned with overcast but dry skies. Team Sahlen took the green flag at 8:30 am and slowly worked their way through the pack. At the 2 hour mark, the #44 “Salt” Porsche Cayman was in 2nd overall and the #942 “Ketchup” Mazda RX7 was in 2nd in GP2 Class and 7th overall. At just about the 2 ½ hour mark though, “Ketchup” had a freak occurrence of the Transmission Casing breaking.
Will Nonnamaker shared his thoughts “Ketchup’s” issues – “What an unusual occurrence to crack a transmission casing. Although with the casings on the RX7s all being 30 years old, this is not overly surprising. The crew did a fantastic job repairing the Mazda and we actually got back out on track at the end of the race to ensure all would be well for Sunday’s race.”
#44 “Salt” continued to make progress, staying in 2nd place overall at the 4 ½ hour mark, when a lower control arm suddenly broke. Although the Cayman was able to be limped back to the pits, this time in the garage essentially erased any chance the team had of winning overall for the day.
Car Chief Tony Artino shared his assessment of the situation – “We are not quite sure what occurred with the lower control arm. The good news is the damage was limited to just that part, and nothing else. The crew was able to dig in, and get the car back on track before the end of the race.”
Sunday dawned with not only continued clear skies, but a bit higher temperatures than the day before. Team Sahlen continued a steady pace in both #44 “Salt” and #942 “Ketchup”. “Ketchup” was running a very steady pace that led to the Rotary Rocket rising up to 9th overall and 2nd in GP2. At the 5 ½ hour mark, a freak misfire led to a quick trip to the garage to diagnose. The top notch Team Sahlen crew conducted a very thorough but quick diagnosis to discover failed Fuel Injectors. Once replaced, “Ketchup” was back on the track in less than an hour. Continued steady race pace saw Joe Sahlen bring the Mazda home 14th overall and 3rd in the GP2 class. This result marked “Ketchup”’s 5th podium in three race weekends with World Racing League.
#44 “Salt”, being driven by Joe & Wayne Nonnamaker, continued throughout the day to lay down consistently very fast laps. So fast, in fact, that the competition was not able to match our times. We were able to build a gap. To add to the gap on the other racers, the Team Sahlen crew continued to execute excellent, swift pit stops. By the end of the day, the Team Sahlen Porsche Cayman had secured the OVERALL Victory by 7 laps, setting the fastest race lap.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts after the race – “What an amazing day. You dream about these type of days, where everything goes perfect. I have to tip my hat to Dad. Throughout every one of his stints, he extended our lead. This effort made my job super easy at the end of the race. I am so proud of everyone at Team Sahlen. To have secured an OVERALL Victory for the 3rd straight year in World Racing League is quite a marker. And to do it while also securing class victories in 3 different classes as well.”
Team Sahlen’s next race will with the ChampCar Endurance Series at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. The Pittsburgh Grand Prix weekend will include an 8 hour Enduro on Saturday – October 6th. Then on Sunday – October 7th, there will be a 7 hour Enduro. The team will be racing their pair of Mazda RX7’s – “Ketchup” and “Mustard”
- 2018 marked the 3rd Year in a row that Team Sahlen has raced with World Racing League (Gingerman Raceway – 2016, Mid Ohio – 2017, & Mid Ohio – 2018)
- Team Sahlen has now won OVERALL in World Racing League for 3 straight years
- The team has also now secured victories in 3 different World Racing League Classes (GTO, GP1 & GP2)
- The team has now placed on the podium 10 times in 3 event weekends
- Team Sahlen’s OVERALL Victory in Sunday’s 8 Hour enduro was incredibly a 7 lap margin over 2nd