Posted (07/04/2012) -
The 2012 edition of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen was full of fun and action as always. The weekend started off with Test Days on Thursday. This saw Team Sahlen lead the charge in the Grand American ROLEX GT class with top times by the #42 Mazda. The #43 RX-8 turned the most number of laps by any competitor, allowing the trio of Joe Sahlen, Joe Nonnamaker & Will Nonnamaker to get plenty of practice time.
Friday morning dawned with beautiful skies. And as the sun rose, Joe Sahlen and Will Nonnamaker were making their annual visit to the Corner Worker briefing meeting to thank all the volunteers for making the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen possible. After Joe Sahlen was able to share his thanks in a short speech, Sahlen hats and pennants were handed out as a special extra thank you.
The Friday Practice Session #1 saw the #42 return to the top of the time charts. This positive trend at the front of the time sheets continued in Practice Session #2 (3rd), #3 (1st), and #4 (3rd). This set hopes high Qualifying for a top spot on the grid. But in on the out lap for Qualifying, the rear sway bar link broke, dashing all hopes for the Pole. Thus the Team Sahlen Mazdas would line up 12th and 18th on the grid.
On Saturday evening, Team Sahlen continued to enjoy the fan activities for the weekend. This included assisting in handing out the Trophies to Adult and Junior division winners of the Sahlen’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. This year’s winner in the Adult division ate 13 ½ Dawgs in 6 minutes. Additionally, into the evening, more of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen pennants were handed out to the fans by Hot Dog Boy. In all, over 2000 Pennants were handed out to fans.
“It’s so much fun to hang out with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen race fans. I especially enjoyed handing out all the pennants to the kids that were camping out with their families in the infield. Many of them were even grilling Sahlen’s Hot Dogs, which made me even hungrier for them.” – shared Hot Dog Boy
Come race morning, and even more excitement was happening in the Team Sahlen paddock, as the Grand Marshals for the event, the Sahlen’s own Western New York Flash Soccer Team, were in attendance. The Flash players were ready for a big day of festivities that included the Driver’s pre race meeting, pace car rides, pit walk, drivers start your engines announcement, judging the Boy Scout Pinewood Derby, and handing out Trophies in victory lane after the race. Plus there was the extra special bonus at the Driver’s Meeting, where the players had their picture taken with movie star Patrick Dempsey.
For the start of this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, the honorary starter was Mrs Anita Sahlen herself. Normally affixed to the timing stand in the Team Sahlen pits, Anita had to excuse herself for the start to wave the green flag at the starter’s stand.
The 1st 30 minutes of the race went full green. Then a Full Course yellow came out when the #44 GT entry caught fire. This Yellow allowed the #43 to pit and place Joe Sahlen behind the wheel. After this yellow, the race went green again for another 40 minutes, at that time both Team Sahlen Mazdas came into pit and changed drivers. Wayne Nonnamaker hopped behind the wheel of #42 and Joe Nonnamaker slotted into the #43 seat. At this point the race went full green until the 4 hour and 40 minute mark. When this yellow came out, it was perfect for the #42 Team Sahlen Mazda. The crew brought the car in, changed drivers, added a full load of fuel, new tires, and sent the car on its way, on the lead lap in 8th place. But then as the pack was coming around to the front straight to get the green flag, one of the backmarker GT cars mistimed the green flag, and jumped the start. To be more accurate, the GT car jumped over the back of #42. This damage ripped the right rear bodywork off the car, flatting the tire, and crinkling the exhaust like a chewed up straw. Team Sahlen made quick repairs, only loosing 2 laps in the pits.
Dane shares his thoughts – “I feel the only word to describe our weekend at the Sahlen's 6hrs is disappointing. We were so fast all week long only to have the rear bar fail in qualifying robbing us of an opportunity to challenge for pole position. We fought our way to the front during the race only to be caught up in an incident on a restart with 80 minutes to go. I feel like we have all of the pieces in place to win races but we just don't seem to have lady luck on our side to seal the deal. But Team Sahlen never quits and we will keep pushing forward.”
In the end the #42 salvaged an amazing 9th place finish out the restart debacle. The #43 had a few mishaps during the race, but ended with no physical scares, and ended up 14th in class.
“I enjoyed the race. It’s too bad we had a few missteps, as we might have captured a top 10. It was a great event, that saw a lot of fans. I heard it was something like 25,000 fans, so that is fantastic.” – shared Will Nonnamaker
The next outing for Team Sahlen will be the Indianapolis Test on July 6th and 7th.
The 2012 Team Sahlen campaign in the
GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is supported by:
Mazda, Mazdaspeed, SimXperience, Alcon, Racetech, NGK, Cool Shirt, Racing Print Media, Mothers Polish, TheRaceSite.com, Western New York Flash, Grassroots Motorsports, ASC Industries, Iannetti Design Ideas, CM Racing, Quarter Master, BBS Wheels, MSI Racing Products, Endurance Karting and Akron Aeros