IMSA: Team Sahlen, Stevenson confirm Continental Tire series programs

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Team Sahlen may not be racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, but will stick around the IMSA paddock as members of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series.

The Sahlen camp, a former member of GRAND-AM’s Rolex Series, will field the No. 42 and No. 43 Porsche Caymans in the CTSCC’s Sport Tuner class for drivers Joe Nonnamaker, Will Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker and Joe Sahlen. The team actually got its start in the ST class all the way back in 1984 when it fielded a Volkswagen Golf.

Through its history, Team Sahlen has fielded Porsches on numerous occasions but in the CTSCC’s Grand Sport class and the Rolex Series’ GT class, not in ST.

“Having been away from racing Porsches for so long and the Cayman being so different from a 911, I didn’t think much of our knowledge base would transfer to these new cars,” Wayne Nonnamaker said. “But I have been pleasantly surprised at what pieces of past information has been useful in the build process.

“I can’t wait to drive the Cayman. With its mid-engine layout vs. the rear engine of the 911, the racer should be a pure joy to drive.”

Last year, Team Sahlen competed in the Rolex Series’ Daytona Prototype class (pictured) and had initially announced that it would do so again in the 2014 inaugural season of the TUSC. However, those plans were cancelled last month.

Also confirming plans to race in the CTSCC is Stevenson Motorsports, who won GRAND-AM’s North American Endurance Championship in the GT class last year.

Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell will drive the No. 6 Stevenson Camaro, while Andy Lally and Matt Bell take over the sister car, the No. 9.

“This is an outstanding driver line up, really one of the best groups I’ve ever had the chance to work with,” team manager Mike Johnson said in a team release. “These four guys not only have great speed and smarts in the car, but they also have a long history with Stevenson.

“The Continental Tire championship is one of the toughest categories in racing and we know how important it is to have a strong group of guys, all working in the same direction. Hopefully with this line-up, we can deliver results and come out on top at the end of the year.”

Donny Schatz edges Kyle Larson for Outlaws victory at Lake Ozark

Trent Gower/World of Outlaws
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Donny Schatz made a last-lap pass on Kyle Larson, snatching a World of Outlaws victory Saturday night at Lake Ozark Speedway.

Larson started on the pole, led 30 of 35 laps and was in control until a caution set up a two-lap shootout to the finish before a limited crowd in Eldon, Missouri.

Schatz and Larson traded the lead twice over the final two laps, but the 10-time champion emerged with his first victory since the NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series returned in mid-May from a two-month layoff because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

‘THEY’VE STUCK BEHIND ME’: Kyle Larson comments on future, Outlaws plans

“Man, I don’t know what to say, but Kyle’s a damn good racer,” Schatz, who led five laps, told DirtVision after his 296th Outlaws win. “I kind of had to go where he didn’t. We got that green-white-checkered, and I decided I was going to send it. He decided the same thing.

Donny Schatz celebrates at Lake Ozark Speedway after his second Outlaws Sprint Car victory of the season (Trent Gower).

“I’m glad to get the win. It feels like it’s been forever. I’ve been out here 24 years, and every night is a learning experience still.”

Larson finished second in his fifth start since he began racing with the Outlaws after being suspended from NASCAR.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to get the win,” Larson said on DirtVision. “I figured Donny would rip the middle. The restarts before, he’d almost clear me in (turns) 3 and 4. I should have known to protect and block his momentum. I felt I exited 2 OK. We don’t have spotters or rearview mirrors so you can’t see how close he is or really hear it when the pace is so slow.

“I just didn’t do a good enough job to run a smarter final couple of laps.”

Brad Sweet, Larson’s brother in law, finished third, with Shane Stewart and David Gravel rounding out the top five.

Larson rebounded from a 10th in Friday’s feature at Lake Ozark Speedway, continuing his streak of top-10 finishes in all five of his starts since the Outlaws’ return.

“We got our car a lot better from last night, so that was a plus,” said Larson, who finished second and first in back-to-back nights last week at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at Pevely, Missouri. “These guys are really tough. To be on the podium with Donny and Brad, they’ve won lots of big races and championships, it’s nice. I just didn’t do what I needed to do that last restart.”

Larson nearly had a flawless night Saturday, turning a 11.426-second lap to capture his second pole position this season and won the pole dash to start first in the feature.

Larson, who was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing from his NASCAR Cup Series ride last month for using a racial slur in an iRacing event, said last week that he plans to run several more NOS Energy Sprint Car Series races this year.

Larson remains indefinitely suspended by NASCAR but was approved to race by the Outlaws after completing sensitivity training.