Daytona II: Krohn Racing preview

Krohn Racing will return to Daytona International Speedway this week with a two-car team. Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and teammate Eric van de Poele will again pair in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola for in the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am...

Krohn Racing will return to Daytona International Speedway this week with a two-car team. Team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn and teammate Eric van de Poele will again pair in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola for in the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race.

The No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola will feature team regular Nic Jonsson paired with Brit Darren Turner, who is subbing for Ricardo Zonta. Zonta will be racing in his homeland, Brazil, where he is in the championship hunt of the Nextel Stock Car Championship series. He is both a team owner and driver in the NASCAR-style series of V-8 stock cars. Turner has driven with the Krohn Racing team as the third driver, teamed with Jonsson and Zonta, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two seasons. The popular Brumos Porsche 250 will be held on Saturday, July 4th, at 2:00 p.m., just hours before the famous NASCAR 400-mile race, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola.

QUOTES:

TRACY W. KROHN, Team Owner/Driver of the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

The Krohn Racing team is headed to Daytona with both the No. 75 and No. 76 Proto-Auto Lolas for the Brumos Porsche 250 race. Please tell us about the plan and why you & Eric are back with the second car.

"This is an opportunity to showcase Krohn Racing in front of a substantial NASCAR crowd and we know that we will race, rain or shine! Actually, I hope it rains because it will show the NASCAR crowd that the show goes on with Grand Am no matter what. We also know our cars are quite good in the rain!!"

Krohn Racing also has a driver switch up with Darren Turner in the cockpit with Nic Jonsson instead of Ricardo Zonta. Ricardo gets a chance to race his stock car in Brazil and Darren gets to sub for him the Grand-Am car. Please share a little about the driver change.

"I think that if we were in the realm of a championship then I do not think Ricardo would even ask to be released. I have never wanted to do anything to any of our drivers that might harm them or their careers and have even fought through the court in one instance to prevent that. Ricardo has an opportunity, that under the circumstances, would help him and cause no harm to us. Darren is an extremely talented driver and I have spoken recently to his girlfriend and she would desperately like to move out of the trailer home that he is poaching electricity with at Silverstone! But, that is a story you will have to ask Darren about!"

The last time you were at Daytona for the Rolex 24 Hours nearly every Ford-powered car had a small engine component issue. What are the expectations this weekend? Is Daytona a good track for the Proto-Auto Lola?

"Naturally, we were bitterly disappointed with the results at the 24 hours of Daytona, as was Ford, and our engine tuners at Roush. We are certain the issue has been rectified and are looking forward to the race on July 4. I think the car will be very competitive and I can't wait to get back on the track there!!"

You, Darren and Nic are testing this week before the Daytona race at Road Atlanta. What's planned for the test?

"We have a few things planned that need testing, but a lot of the time for me will just be getting acquainted with the Proto-Auto DP again, as well as Darren. The Ferrari GT we drove in Le Mans is very similar with regard to overall mechanical balance, but of course the DP has more downforce and behaves differently in the corners so it takes a bit of time to get used to that downforce again as downforce is a bit of an act of faith!! You have to believe that the car will make the turn at that speed when the analytical side of your brain knows that it won't mechanically without the added down force!!"

What was it like to be back up on the podium at Le Mans for the second time in three years?

"It is a fantastic podium and I can't thank the Risi team enough for their efforts and preparation. Nic and Eric were their usual professional, patient, and quick selves and we all kept the car on the track and everyone on the team minimized the time in the pits. The Ferrari 430 GT-2 was perfect! There was some 'personal' redemption for me since I failed so miserably during my first lap last year. Being on the podium once may be considered a bit lucky, but being on the podium twice is no accident, pardon the pun!!"

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

Krohn Racing is back at Daytona with its regular two-car team. I'm sure you are happy to welcome back Tracy and Eric in the No. 75 car. Please share your thoughts.

"I'm glad to have the 75 car back and Tracy and Eric back with us. I obviously shared success with Eric and Tracy at Le Mans. It was a great experience. It's always great to have the team owner with us at the race track and particularly racing with us. I think it's going to be a big boost to the whole team, especially after the success at Mid-Ohio. It is great to see the second car back on track and hopefully with a strong race result."

Krohn Racing also has a driver switch up with Darren Turner in the cockpit with you instead of Ricardo Zonta. Ricardo gets a chance to race his NASCAR car in Brazil and Darren gets to sub for him the Grand-Am car. Please share a little about the driver change?

"Fortunately Darren Turner is a world class driver who has been racing all different kinds of cars for the last 15 years. He's also no stranger to the Krohn Racing team. He's been with Ricardo and me as a teammate the last two years at Daytona. We know that there are no changes that need to be made to fit him in the car. He fits right in. That makes a big difference. He's a very accomplished driver, easy to work with and a great guy. I don't see any problems with that and we are happy to welcome him back. I also wish Ricardo good luck in his stock car race in Brazil. Since we are not really in the Grand-Am championship hunt this year because of some mechanical failures we experienced early on in the year, it was a fair decision on the part of Krohn Racing to release Ricardo so he could compete in this very big race in Brazil. We welcome Darren Turner back and I look forward to driving with him."

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

Tell us what you will be doing with your racing in Brazil and why you will not be at Daytona.

"I have some obligations in Brazil with my stock car team and sponsors. Since we don't have a chance really for the DP championship in Grand-Am and I still have a chance to win the Nextel championship here in Brazil, it is important for me to race here. I know we could finish again on the podium in Daytona this weekend in Grand-Am and I will miss everyone. I will have to leave that result to Nic and Darren and the rest of the Krohn Racing team."

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 Proto-Auto car?

"Yes, we improved the car a lot and the result show that. Unfortunately we didn't finish some races and that made us lose a lot of points. This hurt our chances for the Grand-Am championship"

DARREN TURNER, Driver No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

You are substituting for Ricardo Zonta while he races in an important stock race in Brazil. What do you think about being back with the Krohn Racing team in Grand-Am and competing in a sprint race?

"I thoroughly enjoyed the two times I raced with Krohn before. The Grand-Am Series is great and it's good to work with Nic (Jonsson) and the other guys on the team. I have only done 24-hour races in Grand-Am so it will be interesting to see how different a sprint race will be. You have to pace yourself in a 24-hour race, in order to preserve the car, but I imagine in this race we'll all be flat out and the racing will be ferocious. I know the car has had some good results since I last drove it in January so I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel to see how it has developed."

What have you been doing since we last saw you at the Rolex 24 at Daytona race in January?

"Since the 24-hours in January I've been pretty busy in Europe. I am racing for Aston Martin in the LMP1 class of the Le Mans Series and driving the brand-new Nissan GT-R in the FIA GT Championship. I also took part in the London Marathon at the end of April. This was my first race without four wheels beneath me and it was hard work! Since then I haven't stopped: LMS races, FIA GT races, testing, and of course the Le Mans 24 Hours just a couple of weeks ago."

ERIC VAN DE POELE, Driver No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford Lola:

The Krohn Racing team is headed to Daytona with both the No. 75 and No. 76 Proto-Auto Lolas for the Brumos Porsche 250 race. Please tell us about the plan for you and Tracy to be back with the second car and your thoughts about racing again in Grand-Am.

"I cannot wait to be back in the DP with Tracy. Daytona 24 is too far and even if we drove at Sebring and Le Mans with good results, I'm still feeling glad to be a Grand-Am driver. It's good to have Tracy back driving with the team. At least we can follow the race now live on the racetrack, much better than in front of TV. We have missed the sister's car victory and the last podium as well of Nic and Ricardo. So, now it's time to celebrate something again."

How was it to be back up on the podium again at Le Mans?

"Unbelievable! Not many drivers have gotten this privilege. Of course you have a big feeling of joy but the best is that you know how happy the team is, from the mechanics to the physios through the PR or management and all the people involved with the same goal .That's the best way to thank all the team for the huge efforts they did to push themselves to be the best. I was very proud to show from the podium the excellence of all of Risi's team."

Have you been keeping up with Grand-Am racing and the results back home in Belgium?

"Oh yes! I was so happy to see the Proto-Auto Lola-Ford in a very competitive position after the hard work of last year. The team now can finally grasp the fruits. I could see also the series growing up dramatically and I can only be happy to be back in the show.

As the first half part of season has showed, the Lola Ford should be very competitive even if it is not the best type of track for our car. But anyway all of the team is looking forward to have two cars together on the track again. We may need some adjustments for Tracy and me but with motivation and happiness, it will be a real pleasure to race again with all our Grand-Am comrades. See you there!"

DAVID BROWN, Krohn Racing Team Manager and Engineer:

Both the No. 75 and No. 76 Proto-Auto Lolas will compete in the Brumos Porsche 250 race. Please share your thoughts about Tracy and Eric being back with the second car.

"We are delighted to be back to a full compliment this week. Tracy has found the time to come and race with us again and we have Eric alongside him, therefore the 75 car is reunited. We have run with only one car at five races this year. It's good to field two cars again and to have Tracy with us."

The last time you were at Daytona for the Rolex 24 Hours nearly every Ford-powered car had a small engine component issue. What are the expectations this weekend? Is Daytona a good track for the Proto-Auto Lola? "Firstly we expect the engines to survive the race! We have a much improved car relative to last year's event. We have shown speed on a variety of tracks in a variety of conditions. We should be able to compete at the front again this weekend. We aim to improve on our 2nd position finish in the Mid-Ohio last race. It's a relatively big field this weekend (20 DP cars) so there will be plenty of action. Normally there is a bit of bumping and banging here in the race. Apart from anything else we have a robust and resilient car and all four of our drivers know how to race and how to push for a successful result."

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."

The past three years the Krohn Racing team has experienced podium success at the Daytona sprint race in July. In 2006 Colin Braun and Jorg Bergmeister won the race from the second starting position. In 2007 and 2008 Krohn Racing finished third at Daytona with Braun and Max Papis, then Jonsson and Zonta, respectively.

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 Brumos Porsche 250 Grand-Am race will be televised live on Saturday, July 4th at 2:00 p.m. ET. 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 Nic Jönsson
Teams Krohn Racing