June 2, 2012 Detroit - The Grand Am Detroit 200 could best be summarized for Team Sahlen as being the best of times and the worst of times.
The race results show that Team Sahlen captured a fine 8th and 9th place finish, with the 2nd fastest race lap. This 9th place finish was the best for the #43 Mazda so far in the 2012 season. The fine result saw the #43 close up on a Top Ten position in the GT Team Championship.
The fantastic result for #43 came from several different combinations of team effort. 1st off, Joe Nonnamaker drove a great race, keeping pace with the lead pack of GT cars. This pace allowed the #43 to stay on the lead lap. Then under caution, the race strategy as well as fine pit stops saw the Mazda lining up to the front on race restarts. As the race wore along, all GT competitors seemed to be suffering from contact with the Street Circuit’s Concrete Walls. The #43 was also not immune to this dilemma, hitting the wall 2x as well. But in the end, perseverance and good pace paid off with the strong 9th place run.
For the #42 RX-8. It was a race of what could have been. Wayne Nonnamaker qualified a fine 7th place on the grid. Then he drove a fantastic 1st stint in the car, reaching as high as 2nd place on lap 21. Upon handing over to Dane Cameron, everything seemed ok, until a stuck throttle send Dane to the pits just before going back to green. The problem was rectified but not before 2 laps had been lost on track. The #42 crew did not give up, and fought back to get one of those laps back, as well as grabbing back valuable lost points in an 8th place finish.
All the hectic action on race day were also matched by day 1 on the island of Belle Isle. Friday saw a complete downpour all morning that continued into the afternoon. The 1st real dry laps the competitors saw all day was in Qualifying. The weather had one last parting shot for all the teams, as the skies opened up and poured just as the chequered flag flew at the end of the race.
Team Engineer Catherine Crawford Wallace summed up the day best by sharing - “Belle Isle was another heart breaker for the Sahlen team. We posted the second fastest time with consistent follow up to it but an issue with the throttle took us out of contention!”
Dane Cameron further added – “While the result in Detroit was not ultimately what we hoped for there are still a lot of positives for team sahlens to take away from the weekend. I can't thank the team enough for working their tails off on a short and challenging weekend where the weather made it even tougher. We had a great car in the race, we were able to run very quick laps and maintain a good pace over the stint so it is a shame we were a lap down and not able to take the fight to the leaders. We have a great package and team and we are very confident heading into the Nonnamaker's home race at mid Ohio.”
The crew now has a very short turn around before next weekend’s event Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Jay Chapman, Team Manager shares his thoughts on this tight timeline – “The rigs couldn’t even leave Detroit until Sunday night. That put everything getting back here in North Canton, Ohio at late Monday morning. The crew has had to work doubly hard to get everything back together, especially with #43 so badly damaged from the race. Thankfully the next event is just down the road in Mansfield, so that assists a bit. Hopefully all the hard effort pays off with a fine result at our home track in front of our fans, family and friends.”
The EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be on June 9th, at 4:30 pm. The race will be televised live on SPEEDTV.
Detroit GP 2012 - RACE GALLERY