VIR's Poor Weather and Yellow Flag Challenges Team Sahlen in Second Cup Race of the Season Ninety-one cars were entered in this weekend's Grand-Am Cup race at VIRginia International Raceway. Sporadic showers and a heavily congested...
VIR's Poor Weather and Yellow Flag Challenges Team Sahlen in Second Cup Race of the Season
Ninety-one cars were entered in this weekend's Grand-Am Cup race at VIRginia International Raceway. Sporadic showers and a heavily congested track resulted in 37 laps under caution. Team Sahlen and its drivers led a solid competition but were unable to capture a second win of the season. The team leaves VIR with focus shifting to the upcoming month's busy race schedule.
"It was a difficult race for everyone. We had an excellent strategy had it rained in the last 20 minutes of the race. We had already pitted early in the race and didn't need to come to pit lane again. We decided to stay on rains while many others went to slicks. As the race ended under several laps of dry green-flag racing, we just slipped backwards in position," states Wayne Nonnamaker.
Intermittent showers throughout the race left many teams gambling on either rain or slick tires. Team Sahlen saw no reason to switch back to slicks as lingering clouds hung over the Danville, VA course for the majority of their track time. Unfortunately for the team, the gamble did not pay off and they were unable to repeat a trip to the podium at this season's second race.
Wayne Nonnamaker co-drove the Team Sahlen No. 44 Porsche with his father Joe in this weekend's race. With qualifying cancelled due to heavy rain, the Daytona race determined the official starting grid. With the No. 44 car winning the January Daytona Grand-Am Cup race, Joe and Wayne were able to start in front of the pack. The duo dropped back several positions but gained ground through the rain to bring the car to fourth place. As the rain slowed, their tires did not enable them to regain ground on the large Grand Sport field.
Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker joined as co-drivers once again at VIRginia International Raceway. Sahlen and Nonnamaker sat behind the wheel of the No. 43 Team Sahlen Porsche during the weekend and ran well with the field until being hit by a competitor. Damage to the car caused the No. 43 Porsche to pit but it did not keep Sahlen and Nonnamaker from completing the race. Crew members were able to make quick repairs and have the car return to competition.
The Team Sahlen Street Tuner class car did not see much track time when a competing car stuck the No. 41 Dodge SRT-4 early on in the race. Rain also did not help the driver who tried to regain control during the incident and the car hit a wall just off of turn three. Driver, Matthew O'Toole was ok through the collision but the No. 41 Dodge endured significant damage due to the contact. The car did not return to the race, and will undergo major repairs before the team leaves for the Laguna Seca race.
The Nonnamaker family is looking forward to the race schedule in the month of May which takes the team to three races in four weeks. The team will travel to Monterey, CA; Phoenix, AZ; and Lime Rock, CT all in the month of May. The first race will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where the team hopes to gain another win for the season.
"It will be very hectic these next few weeks especially with the repairs we have to make to the cars. We have a very full schedule but our crew is ready for it and we are looking forward to being back in Grand-Am Cup racing," states crew chief Mike Thomas.
Team Sahlen will race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Saturday, May 6th at 2:45 PM PST in the third installment of the 2006 Grand-Am Cup season.