Millville: Team Sahlen race report

Team Sahlen avoids all trouble in New Jersey ROLEX Rainstorm event Every year there is one of those weekends where it seems that the rain keeps coming and coming, with no end in sight. The 2009 New Jersey ROLEX weekend was one of those. And the...

Team Sahlen avoids all trouble in New Jersey ROLEX Rainstorm event

Every year there is one of those weekends where it seems that the rain keeps coming and coming, with no end in sight. The 2009 New Jersey ROLEX weekend was one of those. And the biggest onslaught of rain seemed do come during the 2 hour and 45 minute span of the ROLEX race.

Team Sahlen had just previously raced the prior weekend at Virginia International Raceway. The crew had worked Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to prepare the Corvettes for the race weekend.

"The Corvettes ran perfectly all weekend. I am proud of the crew for putting in the long hours at the shop. It certainly paid off with both #42 and #43 Corvettes running every single lap of practice, qualifying and the race." - states Crew Chief Mike Thomas

For 2009, New Jersey Motorsports Park decided to utilize the chicane system for turn 3 vs the sweeper turn that was in place for turn 3 in 2008. This was due to the fact that all the ROLEX cars were getting airborne over the back straight rise. Although the length of the track did not change, lap times were off from last year and no new track records were set.

In Qualifying, Joe Nonnamaker placed the #43 in 11th place and Joe Sahlen slotted in at 16th on the grid. Surprisingly the Qualifying session was in the dry

For the start of Sunday's premier event, a wreck at the front of the DP race, saw the GT race get yellow flagged before even taking the green flag. The first 1/2 of the race saw continual green/yellow/green/yellow action. During this sequence, Team Sahlen did an excellent job of pit strategy to place Wayne Nonnamaker in 3rd Place with enough fuel to the end.

"We had a set up on the Corvette that was for a damp to drying track. Unfortunately, the track got more and more wet. If the track had dried, I am sure we would have been in contention for a podium slot."

In the end, both the #43 & #42 finished 13th and 14th respectively in the race. Both Corvettes finished without going off track, or even a scratch on the cars.

"Thankfully New Jersey has a spotter's tower. We placed a crew member for each car with a radio on top of the tower for the entire race. It worked amazingly well. Seeing as how you could barely see out the front and could see nothing out the back of the car, this is what brought us to cars home in one piece. And this is so very important with a race at Laguna in two weeks." - states Will Nonnamaker

The actual time in the race shop for the Corvettes is actually only 5 days, due to the long drive to California.

-credit: ts

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mike Thomas , Wayne Nonnamaker , Will Nonnamaker , Joe Nonnamaker
Teams Team Sahlen