Will Nonnamaker wrote in to tell us that Mazdaspeed has announced that Team Sahlen will be campaigning 2 Mazda RX-8s in the 2010 ROLEX Grand American Sports Car Series. Team Sahlen will be a fielding a full contingent of drivers who have contributed to Mazda Championships through the years. For the #43 RX-8, the father and son duo of Joe & Wayne Nonnamaker will co-driver together, and Joe Sahlen & Will Nonnamaker will be partnered in the #42 RX-8.
The #1 Goal for Team Sahlen in 2010 is to be a contributing factor in assisting Mazda wins the ROLEX GT Manufacturer's Crown.
Joe Nonnamaker of Team Sahlen "Having 1st raced Mazdas in 1993, it brings a fondness to me to come full circle and be partnered with Mazdaspeed again. Mazda had a close bond with their teams then and that relationship is very much in evidence today. In fact, my working relationship was with Steve Sanders during the 1990's. And to this day Steve is still a significant part of Mazdaspeed. And to be partnered with SpeedSource is fantastic. We have long term relationship with Sylvain that has always proven to be a beneficial, both on and off the track."
Joe Sahlen of Team Sahlen "I am very excited about the transition of our team to being fully integrated into the Mazdaspeed family. In 2007, we aligned our KONI ST program with Mazda by converting our campaign to be a SpeedSource RX-8. I have thoroughly enjoyed driving the Mazda in the KONI series. And now I am looking forward to the same level of zoom, zoom driving experience with the GT class RX-8."
"The Mazda GT family just keeps getting stronger and the addition of Team Sahlen only solidifies our position towards the 2010 Championship. I have known and worked with the Nonnamaker family for over 15 years. They share the same passion and dedication to racing as SpeedSource Engineering. That makes it all the more exciting to have them in RX-8s in 2010."
Sylvain Tremblay SpeedSource Race Engineering
"It's great to have Team Sahlen on board. Its exciting to add another championship winning team to the stable of racers currently racing SpeedSource/Riley Mazda RX-8s in the GT class."
"When we established the RX-8 program in GT, we had this exact scenario in mind. A successful customer car program where many drivers and teams could take advantage of a cost effective and competitive package that could put them in the thick of the championship battle. In the case of the Nonnamakers, we are extra pleased to welcome them back to the Mazda family. They have been long time Mazda Motorsports customers and to have them back in Koni Challenge and ROLEX is fantastic and is a move that we hope brings them much success."
John M. Doonan
Manager, Motorsports Team Development
Mazda North American Operations
In addition to campaigning in the ROLEX series with Mazdaspeed, Team Sahlen will continue to race their SpeedSource Mazda RX-8s in the KONI Challenge Series during 2010. Both the GT & ST class Mazdas will be identically painted in the Team Sahlen Red, Black and Yellow branding that fans have become so familiar with over the years.
Phoenix Promotions is the organization that prepares the race cars for the Team Sahlen campaign. Phoenix Promotions' history with Mazdaspeed dates all the way back to 1993 with the introduction of the new MX-6 Model. The MX-6 competed in the ST class. Along the way, the team won the 1996 Rising Star Award, 1997 & 1998 Team Championships. Additionally the team secured Amateur crowns for Mazda: SCCA NEOHIO 1995 ITE class & 1997 SSA class titles. For 1999, the team unveiled the latest edition of the 626 model and won the Driver Championship. In all, 13 Professional Race Victories were accumulated by the team for Mazda. Then starting in 2007, the team rejoined Mazda by campaigning a RX-8 in the ST class. The KONI ST campaign continues into 2010, with the addition of 2 RX-8s in the ROLEX GT class.
2009 marked the 25th year anniversary of Professional Racing for Phoenix Promotions. The Nonnamaker family owns and operates Phoenix Promotions out of their Canton, Ohio base. A significant Part of Phoenix Promotions' long and successful heritage has been racing with the Grand American Road Racing Series. Since competing within Grand American, the highlights to Phoenix Promotions history came in a streak from 2001-2004. During this period the team captured the 2001 & 2002 KONI ST championship. And then followed that up with the 2003 & 2004 KONI GS championship. In total, Phoenix Promotions can list as accomplishments of: 7 Driver Titles, 7 Team Titles, 10 Manufacturer Titles, 50+ victories, 150+ podiums, 35+ Pole Positions, 35+ Fastest Race Laps, and over 700 Race Entries. This CV was achieved through an assortment of 17 different make/models.
Additional Phoenix Promotions Accomplishments over the past 25 Years includes:
- Rolex GT Bob Akin Sportsman Award: 2005
- 5 Rising Star Awards: 1991, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004
- 4 Crew Chief of the Year: 2001, 2003, 2003, 2004
- 3 Paint Scheme of the Year: 2003, 2004, 2004
- Top Team in Grand-Am Cup Performance Index: 2004
- Sunoco Team Manager: 1999
- Deringer Most Improved Position: 1999
- Most Entries in Series: 1998, 2003, 2004, 2005
- Series Marketing Appreciation Award: 2000
- Amateur Regional Championships and Awards:
- 1992 SCCA WOR Rookie of the Year
- 1995 SCCA NEOHIO ITE class
- 1997 SCCA NEOHIO SSA class
The 2010 Team Sahlen ROLEX & KONI Challenge Series Campaign will be supported by Mazdaspeed, HRPWorld.com, HAWK Performance, Cool Shirt, TheRaceSite.com, Grassroots Motorsports, Holliday Canopies, Alcon, CM Racing, Genesis Technologies, Endurance Karting and SpeedSource Engineering.