Team Sahlen, presented by honeybeeBase.com, reached their 100th Victory within Endurance Sports Car Racing during the 2020 Race Season. The 100th Victory came at Pittsburgh International Raceway Complex on October 4th. The event was with the Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series. There were 62 entries for the 7 hour endurance race, that saw Team Sahlen secure 1st and 3rd OVERALL with their duo of Porsche Boxsters. Drivers in the winning car were long time team drivers Joe Sahlen, Wayne Nonnamaker and Will Nonnamaker.
This milestone was achieved in the team’s 36th year of racing. The victories have been secured in a wide variety of both Professional and Sportsman level series. The team has secured victories in races as long as 24 hours, as well as events that saw over 100 competitors to race against. And many of the victories coming with the team securing the OVERALL win in the events.
56 of the Victories were achieved in Professional Endurance Sports Car Racing Series. This extensive list includes the SCCA Playboy Endurance Series, SCCA Escort Endurance Championship, IMSA Firestone Firehawk Endurance Championship, SCCA World Challenge Series, IMSA Endurance Championship, Professional Sports Car Street Stock Championship, SPEEDVISION Cup, Motorola Cup, Grand-Am Cup, Grand-American ROLEX Sports Car Series, Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series, and IMSA Continental Tire Challenge. These victories greatly assisted Team Sahlen in securing 7 Professional Driver Championships through the 5 decades of racing.
Team Sahlen has also secured 45 Victories in Sportsman Endurance Sports Car Series. These have included SCCA National & Regional Events, Tire Rack – ChampCar Endurance Series, Summit Racing – American Endurance Racing Series and World Racing League. In 2021 and beyond, Team Sahlen will be pursuing Victories in additional Sportsman series such SCCA Endurance, NASA Team Endurance, Lucky Dog Racing Series and 24 Hours of Lemons.
Wayne Nonnamaker shared his thoughts – “It would be hard to rank the victories from 1 to 100, as each win was special in its own way. For me, I would have to say that at the top of the list of Professional Victories would have to be our 2012 win in the ROLEX GT series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with our Mazda RX8. This was the very last pro win for a Rotary motor worldwide, and to accomplish this at Mazda’s home track was just very special. As I think about our Sportsman wins in Endurance racing, I would have to say that our 2019 OVERALL victory at the legendary Nelson Ledges 24 hours holds a special place for sentimentally reasons, as our dad Joe ran in the very 1st 24 hour event there in 1980.”
Team Sahlen has been honored through the years with a who’s who of racers. These names include Dane Cameron, Simon Pagenaud, Paul Menard, Andy Wallace, Andy Lally, Pierre Kleinubing, James Jakes, Bruno Junquirea, and Herm Johnson. All in all, there has been 155 drivers who sat behind the wheel of a Team Sahlen race car. With over 2 dozen being able to lay claim to assisting the team in securing their 101 victories.
“To win in a long endurance sports car event requires both speed and reliability. Having competed with 59 race cars over 8 brands, this type of continuous diversity has put an extra level of effort for our crew be able to be prepare and develop our race cars for each race. Our crew has always done such a fantastic job preparing our Team Sahlen race cars so they can run the full distance. We are usually the last team to leave the track the night before a race, as we are always working doubly hard to ensure we are prepared for the epic 6, 12 or 24 hour race that is to come the next day.” – shared Driver Will Nonnamaker.
Within the 36 years of racing, Team Sahlen has had 1030 race entries to reach the 100th Victory Milestone. The quick math shows that this is over 28 entries per season. And these entries are spread across 49 Race Tracks that has spanned 24 states as well as 4 countries. Some of those tracks are some of the most famous in the world including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. And some of the tracks that Team Sahlen has visited don’t even exist anymore such as Pikes Peak Raceway and Texas World Raceway.
In a season where COVID affected all levels of life and racing, Team Sahlen too was impacted, with the team only having 18 entries in 7 races. Although this saw the team secure only 3 victories to bring their mark to 101 wins, the team felt fortunate to even be able to have the opportunity to race when so much was occurring in everyone’s daily lives.
“As I look back over the years, we have raced in both Pro and Sportsman Series. In the end, the goal is still the same – get to the checkered flag before your competitors. And the challenge to win is always a thrill but never taken for granted. This year was like no other, and like everyone, we too had to make adjustments due to COVID. Hopefully, as the 2021 year moves forward, we can get back out racing, continue to have fun and add to our victory in the years to come.” – shared Driver Joe Nonnamaker.
Source. Team Sahlen