Watkins Glen II: Krohn Racing race report

Krohn Racing's Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson captured a Top Five finish in Friday's Crown Royal 200 at the Glen race at Watkins Glen International, round 11 of 14 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule. Eric van de Poele clipped...

Krohn Racing's Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson captured a Top Five finish in Friday's Crown Royal 200 at the Glen race at Watkins Glen International, round 11 of 14 of the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule.

Eric van de Poele clipped the wall and suffered enough damage to retire the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola he shares with team owner/driver Tracy Krohn early. The car was retired on Lap 53 of 82 in the two-hour sprint race.

Brian Frisselle and Mark Wilkins celebrated back-to-victories in their No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley after collecting their first Grand-Am victory last week in Montreal.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "We debated which tires to start on with dry conditions but looming rain. We started with the rains and thought it was a good idea. It wasn't a horrible decision, it was an operable decision. However, the guys that first started on slicks got a good jump on those of us that started on rain tires. They were catching up really, really fast for the first couple of laps. Then it started raining and we didn't have the same problem because we had rain tires. It then started to dry out again. It seemed like we didn't have the right tire under the conditions for long enough. The car was very difficult to manage in wet/dry conditions at that track. If you put two inches of tire off the ideal line, bad things can happen. I felt bad for Eric because that seemed to happen to him. Otherwise the car felt good and was well-balanced. It wasn't a car issue, it was a tire issue. I was sad we didn't have a better result than that and felt bad for Eric. If you go off the line, it is often not a good result.It was a great drive for Ricardo. He and Nic did very well and it was a really good finish for us to be in the Top Five with the 76 car."

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "When I got in the car there was a brake overheating problem. After a few laps I locked up the rear wheels and had a spin before the chicane and hit the guardrail. That may have bent the suspension or something on the car. The steering wheel was sideways. I had to pit for new tires and adjusted the brakes and they came back and were better after we decided to put more rear downforce on the car. The car was pretty good. On the restart though, I lost the rear and hit the tirewall and the car came sideways like a little dance. It was a bit dramatic because people said it looked like the car was going to flip. It looked spectacular, but it was not big in the car. I was sorry because our race was done. It's always difficult when you are pushing to be on the lead lap and maybe sometime you push a little too much. Tracy did a very good job in the rain and in drying conditions on rain tires. Unfortunately, the rain arrived a little too late so we couldn't stay on the lead lap. I'm sad for the team and disappointed. It's going to be better at Sonoma. The car will be more competitive."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "It's not a podium finish but it's still a Top Five, which after what has been going on all week, we can be pleased with that. It was a very good call to start on slicks that David (Brown) made. Obviously it was still damp out there. It took us five to six laps to get the tires up to temps. We fell back from the top cars, but as soon as we got the temps in the tires, we ran the same pace as the other guys on dry tires did. Then it started raining again and we decided to stay out. It was a little hairy there for numerous laps. It was the right call. We only did one pit stop. Strategy worked perfect today. We ended up having a good race. I think it was the right call with both strategy and tires today. We'll take fifth today. It was a good race for us."

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I think that fifth place is good for us today. It was hard to keep up the pace with the car that we had today. We had to save fuel and on a fast circuit like this that makes it hard to compete. Also the tires were taking four or five laps to heat up after the restarts and that made it easy for cars to get around me. The cold weather affected us as well, so fifth is not bad today."

David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing: "We chose a fairly risky strategy on the 76 car; all the way from what tires we started on to how we managed the fuel and staying out on the slicks. My confidence in the strategy was we have the best two drivers in the car to cope with the conditions and to look after the fuel.

Nic did a good job keeping it on the black bit when conditions were at its worst. And we were competitive, more competitive than we thought we were going to be from practice and qualifying. We took a pretty reasonably sized risk when we pitted by pitting very early. We were on Ricardo for nearly all the race from there on to manage the fuel. He did a great job of managing the fuel. We ran out at the end. It was good. We'll take fifth after a poor performance in qualifying and practice. The car wasn't very good and we really struggled to find a good set-up but it looked like it was in the right area come the race.

Eric had a bit an off making an overtaking maneuver. I believe he slapped the right rear of the right front on the barrier and then continued. He had new tires on the car at the restart, cold tires. It got away from him and he spun in turn 11, quite early in the corner on cold tires and had a reasonably sized accident. It actually didn't do a lot of damage to the car. It had a broken damper and scratched the body quite a lot. It was quite a big hit. The car was completely up on its side and fell down on its wheels thankfully. Eric is fine. The car was retired on the basis that there was a lot of suspension damage and we were not confident in just putting a set of tires on and sending him out.

Tracy had a bit of a long petal and some vibration and I'm not really sure why. The 75 car had quite a different strategy than the 76 car. It was a little more conservative strategy."

-credit: kr

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Series Grand-Am
Teams Krohn Racing