Watkins Glen: Krohn Racing preview

As the defending Six Hours at the Glen winner for the past two years, Krohn Racing is looking for a three-peat this Saturday, June 9th at the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen in Watkins Glen, New York. The two-car team of Krohn Racing consists...

As the defending Six Hours at the Glen winner for the past two years, Krohn Racing is looking for a three-peat this Saturday, June 9th at the Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen in Watkins Glen, New York.

The two-car team of Krohn Racing consists of 2004 Glen winners and Krohn Racing team owner/driver Tracy Krohn, along with teammate Nic Jonsson in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley. The No. 75 Krohn Pontiac Riley will pair two-time Six Hours at the Glen winner Max Papis and 18-year-old hotshoe Colin Braun, competing in the event for the first time. Braun had to sit out last year's race due to tobacco sponsorship age restrictions, despite efforts from the team to waive the rule.

The historic 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course features much history and Krohn Racing hopes to add their name again to the history books. Forty-seven cars are entered for the six-hour event including 20 DP and 27 GT cars.

Tracy W. Krohn, team owner/driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

You are in the middle of a busy schedule with the recent Monterey race, a Mid-Ohio test, the Le Mans test, Watkins Glen this weekend, then back to Le Mans...and another four sprint races over the following four weeks. No rest for the weary?

"That's only the race schedule, the work schedule is fairly impressive as well! Today I have been in New York and Baltimore. Tomorrow I will be in New York, Boston, and Orange County, CA., the next day on to San Francisco and then to Watkins Glen! Last year I was out of town about 225 days! Fortunately, I enjoy what I do and get to be a treasure hunter during the week and a driver on the long weekends!!"

How do you like the Watkins Glen circuit?

"Watkins Glen is one of my favorite circuits. You have slow speed turns, high- speed turns, long straightaways, and elevation changes! Then throw in a bit of weather and the Glen is always a challenge!"

You have had good success at Watkins Glen - an overall victory with Nic in 2005, then the Krohn Racing win last year with Jorg (Bergmeister) and Boris (Said). What's the secret?

"Hard work and the realization that it's a long race and thus prepping the car for that type of race."

After four Grand-Am sprint races in a row, you will now compete in a 6-hour race. What are your thoughts on the endurance vs. sprint races?

"I like to drive, so having the opportunity to drive more is an even better intoxicant!"

After sitting out the 6 Hour race last year, Colin is back to compete and has a lot of fans cheering for him to win. What are your thoughts on Colin's first run at the Six Hours at the Glen?

"I know he has done the track on a simulator and that he will get up to speed very quickly. It will be better not having the same distractions we had here last year and winning would be an even sweeter thing for him here as well as for the rest of the team, but there are no "team orders" so if he is to win, he has to finish better than Nic and I as well. We are not ready to concede."

Nic Jonsson, driver, No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

How do you like Watkins Glen? What's you favorite part?

"I love the Watkins Glen racetrack. It obviously has a lot of history going back to Formula One. I think the event itself is one of the best we run. The Six Hour event is much better than the three-hour races. Obviously, Tracy and I won at The Glen two years ago, so we have had past success there together. I like the different elevations they have, the fast esses, and the very slow 90-degree corners. That track has everything. I like to go there because I know we're going to have a very good car. I think Tracy and I will have a very good chance of running in the top five to seven at The glen. I have no doubts that we'll be running up front and be very competitive."

After four sprint races, now you finally have a 6-hour race. What are your thoughts?

"I think Grand-Am Prototype series is called endurance racing and to me a three-hour race isn't endurance. I think the six-hour race is one of the most fun races to run every year. It gives you much more of an opportunity to have a good result. If you are very consistent and good on the equipment, it will pay off better in a longer race than a shorter race. I think we have both of those. We will also be running together with the GT cars again which will add another extra dimension. That will put another element into the equation to be careful in traffic, take care of the equipment and be smart in traffic. I think the Six Hours of the Glen will be one of the best events this year, as always, and I can't wait to go there."

How difficult is the hectic travel and race schedule for you?

"Both mentally and physically, it is not as hard as it sounds because we always try to stay at decent hotels and fly at good times. Also, the cars are always prepped when we get there and we get to focus on the driving part. The biggest part is to be away from home that much, especially with my seven month pregnant wife, my company and so forth. Other than that, I get to do what I love to do. To me it is a fortunate thing to get to do this. I don't look at it as being away and being hard. I see it as being very fortunate being able to do this, to make a living driving race cars, especially with such a great teammate and team owner as Tracy and also with the Risi Competizione team I'm involved with. I have no negatives to say about this. If I could, I'd do this every weekend year round because I love it."

Max Papis, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

As a former 6 Hours of the Glen winner (in 2004 and 1996), tell us what you think of Watkins Glen?

"I am really excited to be going back to Watkins Glen. It's an awesome racetrack, especially running on the long course. There is so much history on the track. It's going to be really special and running for six hour brings back the endurance flavor that sports car racing is all about in Grand-Am. It is fine to have the two and one-half hour sprint races, but I really think that Grand-Am is endurance racing and it's nice to see another endurance race. I'm really happy to do a six-hour race. Of course, there are going to be a lot more variables for success, but I really believe it is going to be a crucial race. We are at a turning point in the championship. We are in a situation where we are chasing our first win. I hope I can add another win to the 6-hour history in addition to my two wins and bring home the first win for our car this year."

How difficult will the competition be this weekend?

"We go there very prepared. I think it's going to be as close of competition as ever. I know how hard my guys have been working to prepare the car for the past races. I have 110% confidence that we're going out there and will be ready to take advantage of the opportunities."

Colin Braun, driver, No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley:

You had to sit out last year due to age restriction, so this year Colin Braun is going to finally drive in the 6 Hour at the Glen?

"It should be a really good event for the whole Krohn Racing team. We have really good cars at Watkins Glen. Obviously we won the race last year. For me personally, I'm really looking forward to getting the chance to drive at Watkins Glen. I've done about three-quarters of the track but I'm looking forward to putting it all together and doing the whole track. It will be really exciting."

Tell us what you know about the history of The Glen?

"It is interesting because my Dad and I talked recently about the fact that he was at Watkins Glen when he was a young kid watching the Formula One race and Dan Gurney was driving in it. It's neat to think about the fact that now I'm going back to Watkins Glen as a driver and I'm competing against Alex Gurney. It's a pretty cool thing, I think."

How hard is it to be doing such a crazy schedule?

"For me, when I was a little kid, I wanted to drive everything and anything that I could. That still holds true today. I love driving cars and if I could be driving a race car ever day of my life, I'd definitely go and sign up for that deal. The more I drive, the better for me. I just love the chance to compete and learn and race. That's what I love to do."

Tell us about getting to go to Le Mans last weekend to test and your thoughts on racing there for the first time this year.

"The chance to drive at Le Mans is a great opportunity. Only a very few select people get to do that. It's an amazing racetrack that has so much history and character. I really had a good time learning where all the corners went. It's so fascinating to be driving along and going through all the woods and trees and thinking about all the great fans that are there. It's just such a great feeling. It doesn't even feel like you're on a race track, more like you're a rally course where you end up getting to the finish line but it doesn't seem like you're going to end up where you started because it is such a long track."

Jeff Hazell, Krohn Racing Team Manager:

Krohn Racing is running two drivers in each car vs. some teams with three drivers. What is the strategy there?

"Our car is well balanced and we have had a lot of attention to driver comfort and our drivers are plain tougher than the rest of the field. In fact, a third driver is actually quite a disruption so we've chosen to concentrate with two."

Krohn Racing has had good success at Watkins Glen - an overall victory with Tracy and Nic in 2005, then the Krohn Racing win last year with Jorg and Boris. What's the secret?

"It's too early to tell if there is something we're doing particularly right at that particular track. I think both of those races were in changeable conditions and perhaps the drivers and team manage those better than others in pit road."

The Krohn Racing team sits fourth in the Daytona Prototype points chase with the No. 75 entry and 13th with the No. 76 entry after five of 14 races this season. Papis and Braun have two podium finishes, a second-place at both VIR and Mexico City. Braun also captured the pole at both those races. Krohn and Jonsson have two Top 10 finishes so far this year.

-credit: kr

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