Birmingham: Krohn Racing preview

Krohn Racing will compete in the neighboring state of Alabama this weekend as the Georgia-based team heads to Birmingham for the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union race, July 18-19, 2009. The 250-mile or two hour and 45 minute race is ...

Krohn Racing will compete in the neighboring state of Alabama this weekend as the Georgia-based team heads to Birmingham for the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union race, July 18-19, 2009. The 250-mile or two hour and 45 minute race is Round 8 of 12 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series races in 2009.

The pairing of Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola will be the solo Krohn Racing entry this weekend. The previous race at Daytona on July 4th brought out the second No. 75 Krohn Racing car of team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and Eric van de Poele. However this weekend Krohn is expected to attend the race but not drive.

TRACY W. KROHN, Team Owner, Krohn Racing:

You drove at the last race in Daytona but will be sitting out the driving this weekend. Will that be difficult after a few successful events as a driver, including Le Mans, to be "just" the team owner and watch the race on TV instead of participating?

"I have always found it difficult to watch a race and not be participating. Barber is a very fun track and a quirky patch of landscaping! I hope to attend the race at Barber this weekend instead of just watching on TV!!"

Traditionally Barber is a good track for Krohn Racing (victory in 2006, 2nd in 2007, Zonta led the race last year and had the fastest lap but suffered a blown tire and missed being on the podium). Why is the Barber circuit well-suited for Krohn Racing and its drivers?

"I believe we have a huge amount of talent in Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta and I think we have a pretty good idea of what set up to use for this track. We have tested here quite a bit in the past as it is not that far from our shop at Road Atlanta so I think we have a really good home court advantage here as well!"

What do you think will be the most challenging thing for the team at Barber?

"Probably the most challenging thing at Barber will be weather and more importantly, track temperatures. We always seem to do a pretty good job of figuring out what we need to do to achieve balance in the car throughout. a stint! Having said all that, I truly believe that we have an extremely talented driver lineup with Nic and Ricardo!!"

There is a smaller field of DP cars this weekend. How do you think that will affect the race?

"I am a bit surprised that we have a smaller field as usually this race is pretty well attended and the crowds continue to grow every year! There will not be that much effect unless the GT car count is down significantly. If that is the case then we will have a faster race with fewer yellows. I expect the racing to be very close!"

NIC JONSSON, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

You and your regular teammate, Ricardo, are back together for Barber. Tell us about that.

"We mixed it up a little bit with Darren in the car with me at Daytona because Ricardo raced a stock car back in Brazil. Darren did a good job and is enjoyable and professional. It's always difficult for both him and the whole team to adapt at such a short event as Daytona. It will be easier to have Ricardo back in the car. Everything fits and we've been working together for the last two years so everyone is comfortable getting in and out of the car. From an overall picture, it will be second nature and you won't have to think so much about getting someone comfortable with the car. We can focus more on race set-up so I'm glad to have Ricardo back. We hope to have a little bit better run than last year with the puncture. We hope to have 'Lady Luck' look over us a little bit more this year."

Traditionally Barber is a good track for Krohn Racing (victory in 2006, 2nd in 2007, Zonta led the race last year and had the fastest lap but you suffered a blown tire and missed being on the podium). Why is the Barber circuit well-suited for Krohn Racing and its drivers?

"I'm not going to try to jinx anything here because we don't know with the new tires. We've seen tracks that we've been quick at before and we come back thinking we are going to be very good at and we were not that good at all.

"The new tire we are running on this year has thrown us a curveball. I think otherwise, historically, Barber is a very technical track. We've always had technical drivers. The track requires some finesse and I think that's what we have in our driver like-up, along with a strong engineering department to get the car to suit that type of race track. When you come to these types of trace tracks, it's really about getting the handling on the car and make sure you maintain tires and brakes and stuff like that. I think Barber is pretty much just handling and that means having a car that keeps the tires underneath you the whole stint and not running out of brakes, and so forth."

Do you think the smaller DP field will affect the race at all?

"It's always nice to have a bigger car count but it's not going to change anything from the competition point of view. All the cars that are always at the races as contenders are going to be there this weekend. It will be as hard as always to finish. A few less DP cars might make the traffic a little lighter and easier with passing. Other than that, I don't think it will be any different than it has been all year. I don't think it matters if there are 25 cars or 8 cars on the grid. As a driver you look at the car ahead and the car behind and race based on that so it doesn't matter too much about the car count."

RICARDO ZONTA, Driver No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

You missed the last race at Daytona because of the Brazilian stock car race. Tell us about the race and how your team finished.

"The race in Brazil was very complicated. We had a misfire all weekend, losing 13 km per hour on top speed. Because of that, I could not do much in the race so we did not have the results we wanted."

You had a good run at Barber last year...qualified on the second row and took the lead on the first lap...holding it through your entire stint. You also clocked the fastest lap of the race. Do you think you can repeat that performance this year?

"I'm very excited to race again with our Krohn team, especially at the Barber circuit. I like the track and I hope everything goes well for us there. We started out strong last year bur had a blown tire shortly after Nic got in the car. We had some damage inside the wheel well and lost three laps in the pits. We could never recover those positions."

What do you think will be the most challenging thing at Barber?

"The most difficult thing at Barber will be the front tire degradation. It is very hard on tires at Barber."

DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager and Engineer:

Traditionally Barber is a good track for Krohn Racing (victory in 2006, 2nd in 2007, Zonta led the race last year and had the fastest lap but you suffered a blown tire and missed being on the podium). Why is the Barber circuit well-suited for Krohn Racing and its drivers?

"The track layout puts the emphasis on downforce rather than drag and that helps us. We are familiar with the track and we have a pretty good idea of what it needs to make the car quick here. This has been true since the Riley days. The track rewards skillful, aggressive driving and we have, and have always had, very good drivers. Both Ricardo and Nic are familiar with the track so we should be able to get into fine tuning the car fairly early in the weekend."

What do you think will be the most challenging thing at Barber?

"It's going to be hot! Daytona was just a warm-up. We have to keep the car, crew and drivers at optimum operating temperature. Each will require different countermeasures but all involve water. It's a short lap, with little chance for the crew or drivers to relax in the race. The car, while the loads are not all that high, experiences plenty of dynamic activity on the twisty and undulating track. It's a great place for a race."

Krohn Racing has been at the top of the Rolex Grand-Am charts recently and had some great success -- a victory at New Jersey in May and a 2nd place finish at Mid-Ohio in the last race. Has Krohn Racing turned the corner with the development of the new car?

"We are developing and we still have areas of weakness in our package, which we are trying to improve. We have had some good races, but we've only won one. Our aim is to win races - all of them. One of the delights of this series is the variety of challenges it throws at you. We have several areas of development and we must not forget that our competitors will be improving too. We just have to do it at a faster rate and more effectively."

There is a smaller field of DP cars this weekend. How do you think that will affect the race?

"There may be less congestion and fewer yellow periods in the race, but overall we like to see a big healthy field in both DP and GT categories."

Krohn Racing's success at the 2.3-mile, 16-turn Barber Motorsports Park has included a victory in 2006 with Jorg Bergmeister and Colin Braun; and a 2nd place finish in 2007 with Braun and Jonsson. Additionally in 2007 Krohn and Max Papis finished in 9th place. In 2008Zonta qualified third and took the lead on the first turn of the first lap and set the fastest lap of the race during his stint.

In 2009 so far, Krohn Racing has one victory (New Jersey), a 2nd place finish at Mid-Ohio, a 9th place finish at Watkins Glen and three DNF's in the No. 76 entry, along with one DNF in one race (Rolex 24) in the No. 75 Ford Lola. For the 2008 Grand-Am season, Krohn Racing recorded two podiums, six Top 5 and 13 Top 10 finishes. Additionally, Zonta claimed one pole position and one fastest lap record.

The Porsche 250 Grand-Am race will be televised live on Sunday, July 19th at 3:00 p.m. ET on SPEED TV. For more information, please see www.grand-am.com and www.krohnracing.net.

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Max Papis , Eric van de Poele , Jörg Bergmeister , Nic Jonsson
Teams Krohn Racing