Watkins Glen International
Sahlen's 6 Hours: 4th to 1st to 7th Place
Team Sahlen had a fantastic weekend at the Sahlen’s 6 Hours of the Glen, both on and off the track. As a prelude of the excitement to come, Wayne Nonnamaker placed the #42 Mazda RX-8 at the top of the GT grid in practice session #3. Then as the Qualifying session rolled to a completion, Wayne had completed an amazing lap to place the #42 in 4th place out of 17 GT competitors.
The start of the Sahlen’s 6 Hours looked like a repeat of the Virginia event of round 4. The pre-grid fan walk was overcast but dry. But as soon as the drivers were called to their race cars, the skies opened up, and the rain came down. And once the race was started, it did not take long for the track to go to full course caution.
Wayne Nonnamaker did an excellent job of not only staying out of trouble, but staying on pace, sitting comfortably in the Top 5 of the GT class. Wayne then handed over to Memo Gidley, whom also laid down some very consistent laps to keep Team Sahlen in contention. Then as pit stop strategy continued to play out, Wayne found himself in the lead at the mid-point in the race. After Memo Gidley completed his final stint, he handed the RX-8 over to Wayne in 4th place. As the race drew to a close, the GT field was a bunched up pack. Wayne did a very commendable job holding off the #41 RX-8 of Dane Cameron for Team Sahlen’s 3rd 7th place finish of the year. Wayne’s drive in the race was awarded the Bob Akin Sportsman Prize. This was Wayne’s 3rd such honor of the year.
“It was a fantastic race. For awhile, it looked like we might secure a podium finish. But that was not in the cards for today. I am very proud of the crew. They did an amazing job in getting Memo and myself in and out of the pits quickly. It was very tricky conditions with both wet and dry track. And sometimes the track was even wet and dry all in the same lap, depending upon what part of the circuit you were on. It’s funny we keep finishing in 7th place. This must be our lucky number – three sevens for the year. Maybe we can find a new lucky number in the very near future, like 3,4 or 5.” – shared Wayne Nonnamaker
Also competing for Team Sahlen during the weekend was Joe Nonnamaker, Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker in the #43 & #49 RX-8s. Not to be outdone by his brother Wayne, Will Nonnamaker also led the GT race during the 6 hour event.
“It was a really fun race. I started the #49 in case something happened to #43. It was really cool to have the Flash branded racer out front and leading at the Sahlen’s 6 Hours. Unfortunately, I choose to park in the 45th minute, and then a minor driveline issue put the #43 out of the race at the 1 hour mark. We brought the #49 back out, several laps down. Joe Sahlen and myself were having a good time, until a vibration arose. In the end, it arose that it was a cracked steering column. We could have kept going, but being laps down, it certainly was not worth the risk to jeopardize the Mazda, so we parked the #49.” Shared Will Nonnamaker
The Grand Marshalls for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen was the Sahlen owned Western New York Flash Women’s Professional Soccer Team. 20 plus soccer players attended the game, meeting with their fans, announce the start of the race and take pace laps around the track. Shared Western New York Flash standout McCall Zerboni of the memorable day – “On Saturday we got to go watch our owner Joe Sahlen drive in the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen which is a Grand Am Race at Watkins Glen International!! Peeps, it was so cool!! We didn't really know what to expect, all we knew is that we had a team event far away from Buffalo, at a race track, that was going to take all day haha so we were like ummmm? But it turned out fabulous… we got to ride around the track in race cars! Go down in the pit during the race and watch them gear up! Hold official signs up for the racers! And I was major jealous of this… Beverly Goebel got to announce the start of the race over the PA system! "Gentlemen, start your engines!" What an experience, I'm so peanut butter and jelz. I just had a complete blasty blast… every one did actually. Some really dug this.. we got to meet McDreamy! (Patrick Dempsey). The whole day was just awesome! My face actually hurt that night from smiling so hard and so long… but I'm a big nut for a thrill and have a need for speeeeed. So right up my alley.”
In the point standings, the #42 Mazda is in 9th place in the GT Team Standings (The #43 & #49 are 14th and 16th respectively). Additionally, due to his fine drive in the race, Wayne has made the significant jump from 3rd in the Bob Akin Sportsman Award Standings to the top of the leader board. This is a fine position to be in at the mid-point in the season.
The next event for Team Sahlen will be at Road America on June 25th.
-source: team sahlen