Utah: Krohn Racing race report

Krohn Racing Post-Race Report for the Miller Motorsports Park Grand-Am Finale Krohn Racing ended the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season with a fifth and 12th place finish at Miller Motorsports Park. After starting from the pole...

Krohn Racing Post-Race Report for the Miller Motorsports Park Grand-Am Finale

Krohn Racing ended the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season with a fifth and 12th place finish at Miller Motorsports Park. After starting from the pole with the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola, the fifth place finish was bit of a disappointment to qualifying driver Ricardo Zonta and teammate Nic Jonsson.

There was no pot of gold for the Krohn team, despite the rainbow over the track, when a belt that links the alternator and water pump broke on the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola. Eric van de Poele led two laps and kept the car at the top of the chart for much of his double stint. He then turned it over to team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, who had to drive most of his first stint in the rain. Third driver Boris Said took over the wheel from Krohn, until the belt issue sidelined the team for a 45 minute repair. Krohn returned to the cockpit and posted a 12th place class finish.

The No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of Ian James, John Pew and Raphael Matos won the finale. Chip Ganassi Racing clinched their third Grand-Am Prototype Team Championship and drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas clinched the Driver's Championship.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "Eric and Boris did a great job putting the car in the Top 10. Unfortunately we had an alternator belt that broke and it took about 45 minutes to repair. For the last stint I got back in the car and it was just fine. I was doing laps and having fun. The car behaved very well. I was real pleased with the way the car performed in my last stint. Gosh, I wish we could start over again.

My stint in the rain was really odd because going into Turn 5, I could see the rain coming and I let off the accelerator and tapped the brakes and I the car just went into this sideways spin. I saw the cars in front of me. I got off in the gravel and I just locked it up and put both feet in. I managed to get the car stopped and got it started again while rolling around on slicks in the rain. It was really raining pretty hard. Finally I figured out that I could get more grip running with two tires on the gravel, so I did that for awhile. I was surprised they didn't allow us to come to the pits immediately. I don't know what the delay was and why they decided to have us stay out another lap when the cars were spinning all over the place. We all had to go slow enough to keep the car on the track."

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I was lucky to have the car in good condition at the start. Our strategy played very well for us because fortunately we had a yellow, as we expected. So we stopped on the same lap just before the GT cars. It was perfect. The car was pretty good all the way through during all my stints. Everything was perfect so I could catch a few cars. It is always nice when you see your position go higher and higher. Then Tracy got in the car next and I think we were in a very good position, in fifth place. Unfortunately the rain came very hard. I think everybody did their best and then we had a problem with the belt. Unfortunately we didn't get any luck today. It was fantastic the team fixed the car in quite a short time and we could get back on the track. Tracy could finish the race and we finished 12th. We prefer to give them a better finish but we'll look forward to next year.

I was quite happy to see the Lola become more competitive. The pole was fantastic for the team who has worked so hard this year. It was the highlight of the weekend."

Boris Said, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola:"It's not every day you get to drive with a five-tie Spa 24 Hour champion (Eric van de Poele). It was fun for me. I've known Eric forever and this was the first time we've ever driven together. Eric did just an unbelievable job for his first 2 hours and 45 minutes. I got in during the rain and was a little nervous. I've only driven this car for 7 or 8 laps the other day. In the rain it was great though. I was actually sorry to see it dry out. I think we would have had a decent finish today. I was being a little conservative when I was on slicks just because I didn't have the experience on it. But the speed started to come. It was unfortunately that a five dollar belt broke but that's motor racing. Eric was fast and Tracy did a good job keeping it on the track when the rain came down. There wasn't a car out there that could keep up with the pace car. It was pretty torrential rain there for a bit. Crazy weather here but it's a great track."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I'm pretty pleased with my stint. Unfortunately the rain started coming down in the middle of my stint and it was very dangerous. Grand-Am, in my opinion made a call that was very dangerous. They left everybody out there an extra lap on slicks which I think was dangerous because people slid off left and right and couldn't come into the pits. I was going 20 miles per hour and was hydroplaning on slicks. But we got going again and I think we moved up from third to first and then we decided to stay out two laps too long on the rain tires and we lost positions there. We also had a clutch problem and we didn't have a clutch for two stops, which also delayed us a little bit in pit lane. I think the car had the performance today to put us on the podium and least but it didn't work out that way. We have to get home and try to work hard for next year and hopefully come back and run for the championship next year."

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I am disappointed with our results. We started from the pole and finished fifth. It is frustrating we did not win or have a podium finish because we had a very good car. I got a penalty early on and then we were late on changing tires back to slicks. I worked very hard to get the car back from tenth to fifth. It's is a frustrating finish for us."

David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing and Race Engineer on No. 76 Pontiac Riley: "We started on pole position and led the race but unfortunately, due to contact in the early part of the race we incurred a drive-thru penalty which put us back. But then through a bit of stealth and a bit of good fortune, we managed to get back up to the front when we pitted just before it went yellow. We were encouraged by that and regained our position by doing that. We were on the same tire life as everybody else, as well as the same fuel timing. Then when it rained, we came in at the same time as everybody else and drove around in the rain like the others. When it came to dry, we were late putting the slicks on and that lost us an enormous amount of time and put us down into 10th position. Finally when there was a yellow, which was right at the window for the last pit stop, we took it, along with everybody else and did a driver change. Ricardo pushed as hard as he could and gain as many positions as he could and went from tenth to fifth. We're disappointed not to have finished first, however having been down as far as 12th we did actually gain something."

Jeff Braun, Race Engineer, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley: "We lost the belt on the front of the engine that links the alternator and water pump. We lost electrical power first and then we had high temperatures and had to stop. In order to fix it we had to drop the under wing and move the engine back from the back of the car to get a new belt on it. We weren't sure if the engine was damaged but it was fine and we got back out there. We thought we were done but the guys looked at it said let's work on it and see how long it's going to take. They got it done and quickly -- in about 45 minutes -- and we were back on track. We got a 12th place out of it. On top of that, Tracy did his fastest lap of the weekend and got another whole stint. It was a great way to end the season. The guys did a fantastic job leading the race. It was rewarding that the pit strategy worked for us and got us in the lead. Eric did a super job on his double stint and was on pace with the leaders. It was great to get to show it and a reward for the guys for all the hard work all year."

Most Grand-Am competitors immediately head to Las Vegas for the annual Grand-Am Banquet on Monday night, September 22nd. The next race for the Krohn drivers will be the Petit Le Mans race in the American Le Mans Series on Saturday, October 4th.

-credit: kr

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