Team Sahlen presented by honeybeeBase.com had a very successful 2nd outing with the World Racing League series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The net result was two 1st Place finishes and two 3rd Place finishes. This included a fantastic OVERALL Victory on Saturday with the team’s Porsche Cayman vs a tough field including an Elan NP01 (pictured below). The weekend started on Friday with open practice sessions. Team Sahlen took advantage of this opportunity to tune the #42 “Salt” Porsche and #942 “Ketchup” Mazda for the weekend’s dual 8 Hour Endurance Races. The team also tested “Mustard” Mazda for some development time in preparation for the upcoming ChumpCar event at Pittsburgh. Additionally, the team’s brand new “Saucy” Sahlens Porsche was brought along for its 1st initial laps on track.
Car Chief Tony Artino shared his thoughts on the test day – “Friday was a great day for testing. It was a beautiful day, with blue skies and clean track. We were able to get a lot of our testing and development work accomplished during the day. Everyone was super happy with how our new car “Saucy” ran. We wanted to make sure everything was working with the PDK Automatic Transmission. The car ran flawlessly, and we can’t wait to race it later this fall.”
The weekend was forecasted to be dry and warm. And the predictions were correct. There wasn’t a rain cloud in the sky and the temperatures were in the high 80s to low 90s all weekend.
Team Sahlen’s previous outing with World Racing League had occurred last year at Gingerman Raceway in similar hot conditions. At that event, the team had entered both the “Ketchup” and “Mustard” Mazdas in the GP2 class. The end result to the 2 endurance races that weekend was a 1st & 2nd OVERALL / 1st & 2ndin Class on Saturday and a 3rd & 4th OVERALL / 2nd & 3rd in Class on Sunday. Team Sahlen came to this weekend at Mid-Ohio with cars entered in 2 different classes – GP1 & GP2.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts leading up to the race –“We knew that competition continues to get stronger and stronger in World Racing League. We wanted to have the opportunity to not only contend for victory in 2 different classes, but we wanted to continue to contest for the OVERALL race victory. With some very good cars entered, include an Elan NP01 Prototype, we knew it was going to be tough challenge, but that is what makes racing so fun.”
Saturday’s race saw Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker driving the #42 “Salt” Porsche. Slotted in the #942 “Ketchup” Mazda was the father/son duo of Joe & Wayne Nonnamaker. In the 1st hour of the race, 2 separate incidents saw both cars loss several laps to the competition. This slight deviation meant that both Team Sahlen racers would be driving through the field to get back to the top of the standings. And drive through the field was just exactly what occurred. Both cars ran flawlessly and slowly but surely moved forward. As the race drew to a conclusion, the #42 “Salt” Porsche was in 2nd Place overall. With 30 minutes to go in the race, 1st Place overall was only 50 seconds in front. Joe Sahlen was in the driver’s seat, mounting a charge. Lap after lap, Joe whittled down the margin, until he was right on the bumper of the leader with 5 minutes to go in the race. Once Joe was able to make the pass, then the only thing left to worry about was having enough fuel to make it to the finish. Thankfully there was enough fuel, and Joe secured the OVERALL victory and the GP1 class victory. The #942 “Ketchup” Mazda made a successful charge as well and Wayne Nonnamaker crossed the line in 6th Place OVERALL and 3rd in the GP2 class.
Will Nonnamaker summed up the day’s race – “This weekend is Joe Sahlen’s birthday. And what a way to celebrate your birthday than to have the drive that Joe had today. He drove 5 of the 8 hours of the race, and he was turning some amazing lap times at the end there to net the overall victory. We were all on pins and needles in the pits. Joe had it all under control though and was able to make the pass with 2 laps to spare.”
Sunday’s race saw the driver line up switch up cars. What was the same as Saturday was the warm sunny skies. In fact, the temperatures on this day rose to the mid 90s. This meant that there would be extra stress being put on the cars, the drivers and the crew. Both Team Sahlen racers ran strong all day. Two minor incidents caused about 10 minute delays mid race for each race car. This little set back did not deter the team, and the push to the front of the pack continued throughout the race. As the Sunday race drew to a conclusion, the results were exactly the same in class position s Saturday: 1st in GP1 & 3rd in GP2.
Joe Sahlen shared his feelings on the weekend – “I really enjoyed racing with World Racing League. It was great fun. 16 hour of on track racing at one of the best sports car courses in the country. I can’t wait to get to come back to the track in October when we race with the American Endurance Racing series. Hopefully this track time will assist us when we get back here for those two double endurance races.”
Joe Nonnamaker added his thoughts to the event – “What a great result, and to be able achieve the dual victories in our 1st event with having honeybeeBase.com join our campaign. We are excited to have them in partnership with Team Sahlen and we are looking forward to more exciting adventures with honeybeeBase.com in the 2018 season to come.”
After 4 races over the past 2 years with World Racing League, Team Sahlen has enjoyed great competition and successful results:
- 2 OVERALL Victories
- 3 Class Victories (GP1 & GP2)
- 8 Class Podiums (GP1 & GP2)
- 100% Finishing Record (64 hours of racing)
The next event for Team Sahlen will be in 2 weeks at the ChumpCar World Series Pittsburgh Grand Prix. The Saturday, October 7th race will be an 8 hour event. Then the Sunday, October 8th event will be a 7 hour event.