Birmingham: Krohn Racing race report

No Lucky Breaks for Krohn Racing at Porsche 250 Grand-Am Race at Barber Although Krohn Racing was the fastest car on the track at the Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Barber Motorsports Park, "Lady Luck" turned her back on...

No Lucky Breaks for Krohn Racing at Porsche 250 Grand-Am Race at Barber

Although Krohn Racing was the fastest car on the track at the Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Barber Motorsports Park, "Lady Luck" turned her back on the team. After qualifying the car third while suffering from the flu, Ricardo Zonta, in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola, showed his driving talent as a former Formula One driver at the first turn of the first lap. He made a simple and classic move past polesitter Michael Valiante and Memo Rojas, who started second.

Zonta went on the lead for his entire first stint of 25 laps, the most consecutive for any driver of the race. Zonta turned the No. 76 Pontiac Lola over to teammate Nic Jonsson, who received fuel but no new tires on the pit stop. Within two laps, Jonsson called on the radio to report smoke from the left front. Shortly thereafter he suffered a blown left front tire. Damage inside the wheel well cost the team three laps in the pits. They could never recover that amount of time and had to settle for a 13th-place finish.

Tracy Krohn started from the 18th position in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola and drove 29 laps or until the 45-minute mandatory pit stop rule relegated them to pit. He had worked the car up to 12th position before turning over the wheel to teammate Eric van de Poele. Van de Poele drove 40 laps before being hit hard by a GT car, which spun him, and was subsequently hit by other cars. Damage included a broken pushrod, damper and wishbone, which caused the team to retire the car two hours into the race and finish 17th in class.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "The track is very slippery but it is very slippery for everybody. The car is actually pretty good. It took me awhile to figure out what the track was doing. I finally picked it up and passed a couple of guys and kept going. Then we had to come in for a mandatory 45-minute pit stop rule. We lost a lap in that. The caution came out four laps later. If it would have come out just a couple of laps sooner, it would have been a lot better for us. Eric did a great job. He did a good job of pulling it together and I was real proud of him. Unfortunately Nic had a really bad break (with a punctured tire which cost the team 2 laps in the pits). Ricardo did a great job and was pulling away from the field. That was fun to see. This is a good track for us. We could have gotten it fixed and gotten out and raced it more today but we would have only finished P-18 (position 18). We've got a full test day tomorrow so we decided to save the car and repair it and get the car ready to test tomorrow."

Eric van de Poele, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I was fighting with the car in front of me on the restart and he was going down by all the GT cars in front of him. I arrived quicker than him at the hairpin. When I pulled away, the other GT didn't see me. A GT car hit me in the back and I spun and hit other cars. It's really a shame because the car was quite good. Anyway, that's racing."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "I think we had the car to beat today in the race. Obviously we had a very good start. Ricardo took the lead on the first lap going into turn one. He actually pulled away with about a 10 second lead or something like that. He came in and I got in the car. The first thing that happened after I got in was I called in and said I had some smoke coming from the left front. David (Brown -- team manager and car engineer) thought it was some build up from the tires on the wheel well but smoke kept coming from the left front. Two laps later, going into Turn 7, the left front just exploded and I went straight into the gravel trap and tried to keep it away from the wall. I came in, put new tires on and went a few laps down. Although the pace was there, after that we couldn't make up the time. It just wasn't our day. We just have to keep our head down like we have done all year. There's no doubt we keep getting closer. This car and team are going to be the combination to beat in the future. I'm real proud to be a part of the Krohn Racing team and have Ricardo as my teammate. We're going to be very strong."

Ricardo Zonta, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola: "It was quite nice to start the race. We had a very good car for the race. Being the leader for my stint was very nice for me. It was unlucky we had the puncture because the car was quicker and quicker every lap. We could fight for winning here. I think this was the best car we had all season.

My first lap was quite good. It was difficult to say whether the No. 10 car missed a gear or something like this because I got a big step on speed around him. It wasn't a risk, I just overtook. Then every lap, I was like a half-second quicker. It was very safe and very easy to drive the car today. Even at the start, it was very safe."

David Brown, Team Manager, Krohn Racing: "I'm real disappointed for us to not get a good result. We're not really sure why we had a tire go down on the 76 car. We don't know if we had something rubbing on it or if we had a puncture. We don't know yet. But we'll go to Montreal and we'll try again, as we always do. All the crew and all the drivers have been working very hard. Although we didn't get the results, we are encouraged to see the effort rewarded by a more competitive car at the tighter tracks."

Jeff Hazell, CEO, Proto-Auto Lola: "The car is well-balanced here. We've done a lot of good testing information from this track and that helped enormously. But the big thing is that this track is not dependent on top speed or drag. And we've been suffering with drag and not performing well at high-speed track. We have to work at that. But here that didn't matter so much at all. And quite frankly, Ricardo Zonta is in a different class than Fogarty and Valiante as far as drivers and he should be half a second a lap quicker than those guys and that's exactly what he showed."

-credit: kr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing