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Larry Ott: Team Sahlen’s second in class at Glen

WATKINS GLEN - For the second consecutive race in this Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge season, Team Sahlen’s No. 42 Porsche Cayman co-driven by brothers Wayne and Will Nonnamaker came as close as it could to winning the Street Tuner class without getting the checkered flag. The pair finished a strong second in the Continental Tire 150 at The Glen here Saturday.

The event was part of the annual Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen Weekend.

Also, Spirit of Daytona Racing’s No. 90 Corvette featuring the driving tandem of England’s Richard Westbrook and Canadian Michael Valiante scored a big victory here Sunday. The captured the Prototype class and overall win in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

In Sunday’s event, Westbrook passed fellow Englishman Alex Brundle on a late restart to win the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.

“I was able to get a nice run on Alex,” said Westbrook of the winning pass. “Once I got into that position I knew I was okay because I had a lot more straight line speed advantage. I love winning here. Watkins Glen is my favorite circuit.”

As for the Sahlen’s No 42 car, it has made steady progress this year after transitioning from the Daytona Prototype class to the Street Tuner class this year. Earlier this month, the Nonnamakers, who hail from North Canton, Ohio, finished second at Kansas Speedway.

“Will had a great opening stint,” said Wayne Nonnamaker. “He avoided the first-lap melee. Team Sahlen’s built a nice, solid car. I was able to save fuel while still running in the top 10. It was great to come in second, especially after that last-lap pass on the front stretch. That was one of the best races I’ve had in years and it was great to do it in the Buffalo area.”

Team Sahlen also fielded a second Porsche Cayman, the No. 43 entry featuring Elma’s Joe Sahlen and Joe Nonnamaker, the father of Wayne and Will. The No. 43 car placed 22nd, suffering a pair of driving penalties which hampered their outcome.

“Will and Wayne drove a good, smart and consistent race,” said Sahlen. “It is very exciting in this very competitive series. You absolutely, positively have to keep your mistakes to a minimum. I had some problems with some penalties. I had a disputed speeding penalty on pit road. I don’t know how on earth in could have happened. Then I served the penalty at the wrong time so it didn’t count so I had to serve it again. I was not a particularly pleased driver while I was in the car. It made me more motivated but it took us out of contention for a good result.”

The Street Tuner on Saturday was won by the Honda Civic driven by Kyle Gimple (Minden, Nev.) and Ryan Eversley (Lithonia, Ga.).

Stevenson Motorsports co-drivers Robin Liddell (Newbury, England) and Andrew Davis (Athens, Ga.) took their Camaro Z/28.R. to victory in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire 150 on Saturday.

Winners in the three other Tudor United Sports Car classes on Sunday were:

Prototype Challenge - Core Autosport’s co-drivers Colin Braun (Charlotte, N.C.), Jon Bennett (Charlotte, N.C.) and James Gue (Alspharetta, Ga.)

GT Le Mans - Corvette Racing co-drivers Antonio Garcia of Spain and Jan Magnussen of Denmark.

GT Daytona - Turner Motorsports BMWZ4 co-drivers Markus Palttala (Helsinki) and Dane Cameron, (Atlanta).

In the Prototype Challenge class, Williamsville’s Eric Lux took his car behind the pit wall with power steering difficulties just 36 minutes into the race. He and his teammates returned to finish tenth in class and 43rd overall.

Three other divisions of sports cars participated in the weekend at The Glen.

Mikhail Goikhberg of North Vancouver, B.C., won the first Cooper Tires Prototype Lites 30-minute affair Friday and then completed the two-race sweep in Saturday’s 45-minute finale.

Goikhberg, the current points leader in this division, has won five of the six series races in 2014.

In the Porsche GT3-Cup Challenge USA, Colin Thompson of Doylestown, Pa., claimed the first 45-minute race Friday, coming from behind to pass Venezuelan native Angel Benitez Jr. coming out of the final turn on the last lap to score his first career GT3 Cup win. Incredibly, Thompson duplicated that on Saturday with another last lap pass of Benitez to win.

In the Lamborghini Super Trofeo races, John Farano won on Friday, and Kevin Conway won Saturday’s race.