Watkins Glen II: Krohn Racing race report

Krohn Racing Victorious at Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen Krohn Racing collected their second victory of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season at the Crown Royal 200 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New ...

Krohn Racing Victorious at Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen

Krohn Racing collected their second victory of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season at the Crown Royal 200 race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.

Qualifying driver Nic Jonsson started the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola from the eighth starting position. Jonsson was served a penalty on Lap 13 following contact with a GT Porsche after moving the Proto-Auto Lola up to the sixth overall position. Good team strategy paid off as Krohn Racing Team Manager/Engineer David Brown called a pit stop and driver change under caution on Lap 25. Ricardo Zonta worked his way up through the field, from as low as ninth position after a final stop for fuel, to the top of the lap charts. Zonta led the final 21 laps of the race, from Lap 73-93, and et the fastest race lap.

Tracy W. Krohn, Team Owner Krohn Racing: "It was a real slugfest out there. The track is so fast. It's the fastest track we race. The car has lots of down force and you're hoofing through there.

We just seem to have really good fortune at Watkins Glen. I think that's part of it. We expect to do well and as a result I think the mindset is such that we've got to do well. Everybody is stoked up to perform and the team was flawless. The pits stops were perfect. Then driver change went perfect. Ricardo drove well. I thought Nic got a funky call there but hard to tell from the television about contact. It looked like it was a racing incident to me. The end was very exciting. We had a good strategy and it worked out well. Ricardo was very, very strong at the finish. One of the things we did was come in early on the driver change. We are not really trying to get points at this stage. We are trying to win races. I think that was a good call. The guys were all extremely excited. It was one of those perfect races."

Nic Jonsson, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola: "We changed the car and went back to the set up we had in the 6-hour race earlier this year. In practice and qualifying we were struggling with the grip. We decided to go with something we knew was good here a few months ago. We completely transformed the car for the race and had a very good car.

We had a good start and went from eighth to sixth on the first lap. About 25 minutes into the race, Timo (Bernard), I think, and I came up on a slower car. I tucked underneath Timo and the GT car turned in and I had to slam on the brakes to try to save my car. I didn't quite stop enough. I hardly brushed him. It was almost like the air turned him and there were no marks on my car but they assessed a drive through (penalty) on me. It was very hard ruling but we knew we had a good car. David was encouraging on the radio and said let's do this drive-through and keep running because we are among the quickest cars out there. We stayed on the lead lap and actually gained some time back. We got a yellow and decided to pit, change drivers and do fuel and tires. Ricardo got in and did a fantastic job from there, along with the crew. We had very good pit stops and a little different strategy than most teams. We basically pitted under green on the last stop and went to the finish. We were quick by about a half second. That gave us enough of a cushion when everybody else pitted that we ended up being at the front.

It's been a long time since I've seen such an excited crew and it is understandable. They have done such a fantastic job the last two years with this Proto-Auto Lola. A lot of time, testing and work have gone into this program. There's not one guy or two guys that can be singled out for the credit. It's a complete, pure, true team effort. It's just a fantastic feeling to be able to legitimize this Proto-Auto Lola's competitiveness...that includes in the dry conditions. We've had two wins this year. I think only two other teams have done that."

Ricardo Zonta, Driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola: "The car was very quick. We had very good strategy. Only problem was to hold Pruett behind. The traffic with the GT cars made it difficult. I had to work very hard to keep my pace. It was so easy to make a mistake. It was very close in the end because of the traffic with the GT cars and the short track. We had to pass cars every lap. That was the problem. I would say when I was by myself with no traffic, I opened up a gap but as soon as I caught up to traffic they started to get closer to me. I think we were the quickest car on the track.

I'm very proud to drive for Krohn. The team has worked very hard so we are glad to win again. We are missing Tracy here to celebrate together."

David Brown, Team Manager/Engineer, Krohn Racing: "There were moments when a lot of cars stopped very, very early...almost inconceivably early. I was thinking we may have made a mistake because surely they haven't all done this without thinking through. When a couple cars pitted they all seemed to follow the leader. We stuck to our plan and pitted under green and no one else did. We were able to run straight to the end without any fuel issues. Those people that stopped a lot earlier had to actually come in to take fuel. Not only did the strategy work out the way we wanted but the car was fast enough to produce the result as well. Ricardo set the fastest lap. It's not comfortable to have Pruett behind you. We had to work to stay ahead of him. The team did a great job with good pit stops.

Nic got a harsh penalty early in the race but he kept his head and got on with it and had some really good laps after the penalty. That laid the foundation for the rest of the race with Ricardo and off we went to a victory."

Zonta and Jonsson won the 200-mile/2 hour Crown Royal 200 race by a 3.325 second margin of victory over current point leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 Telmex/Ganassi Lexus Riley.

The next Grand-Am race will be at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Saturday, August 29 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

-credit: kr

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