Team Sahlen's Nonnamaker Ends Season Long Quest for Akin Award During a ROLEX season filled with unwavering competition, Will Nonnamaker pushed forward in the Grand Touring (GT) class towards his goal of winning the Bob Akin Sportsman Award. At...
Team Sahlen's Nonnamaker Ends Season Long Quest for Akin Award
During a ROLEX season filled with unwavering competition, Will Nonnamaker pushed forward in the Grand Touring (GT) class towards his goal of winning the Bob Akin Sportsman Award. At the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez track this past Saturday; Nonnamaker completed a season long pursuit of the prestigious award to put his name in the Grand American record books.
At the first Grand American Rolex race held in Mexico City, Nonnamaker seized the coveted Bob Akin Sportsman Award. The award is held in remembrance of long time driver and road racing enthusiast Bob Akin. Only GT class drivers are eligible for the award with the winner determined by a combination of miles driven and finishing position.
Nonnamaker has participated in every Rolex race of the 2005 season, driving with a list of very prestigious road racers including his father, Joe, and brother, Wayne. Nonnamaker closed up the 2005 season with a surprising co-driver. Nonnamaker, a Team Sahlen regular, was offered a ride by Synergy Racing. Nonnamaker was paired with Craig Stanton in the race south of the border. Stanton and Nonnamaker were teammates for Team Sahlen's 2004 effort which brought Stanton his first Grand-Am Cup Championship. Nonnamaker's effort was in support of Stanton's own title run this season as Stanton started the #80 Synergy Porsche and finished the #81 for Nonnamaker.
Strategy, teamwork and persistence contributed most to Nonnamaker's recent award. After taking the points lead earlier this season, Nonnamaker concentrated on track time but required careful pit strategy in order to gain maximum points for the award. Pitting for a driver change too late in the race could have cost Nonnamaker and his co-driver valuable finishing points. Pitting too early would have sacrificed more points for the award. Constantly pushing the elements Nonnamaker fought hard in the Rolex 24 Hour race and fought off exhaustion during the extreme heat of this year's Phoenix 250. Fortunately, Nonnamaker's persistence guided him while his team and family were behind him every step of the way. In total, Will had nine top-ten finishes, with his worst finish being 20th place. This result was good enough to place him in 11th place overall in the GT Driver Standings.
"I am honored that Synergy Racing invited me to drive with them at Mexico. It was exciting being involved in their successful quest to secure Craig Stanton the Driver Championship. I really want to thank Sahlen's for all the support they have given us, not only in the Rolex series but the Grand-Am Cup as well. This has been a great season and we are very excited to bring it all to the track again in 2006. The team has been very supportive and the support of my family has been excellent as always." stated Nonnamaker.
Nonnamaker was confronted with outstanding competition for the award from TRG driver Marc Bunting. Upon leaving VIR Nonnamaker led Bunting by only 131 points, a difference that could have easily been made up in the event of a difficult race. Fortunately, all went as well for Nonnamaker as he finished only two spots behind Bunting's TRG car. Nonnamaker finished with 4778 points, 114 more than Bunting.
Will Nonnamaker Driver Statistics:
2005 ROLEX GT Bob Akin Sportsman Award
2002 Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring Class Champion
2001 Grand-Am Cup Sport Touring Class Champion
1999 Motorola Cup Sport Touring Driver Champion
1996 IMSA Endurance Sport Touring Rising Star Award
1995 SCCA Northeast Ohio ITE Class Champion
1992 SCCA Western Ohio Rookie of the Year
For more news on Nonnamaker, Team Sahlen, and the Grand American Rolex season finale log onto TheRaceSite.com.