It was a banner day for Braun, Bergmeister and the Krohn Racing operation. The 17-year-old Braun started the #76 machine from fifth on the grid and raced with the front-runners throughout his stint before Bergmeister took over to finish the race. The team's second-place finish came in the team's first outing after switching to Ford power, and was a career-best Rolex Series performance for Braun.
“It's an honour and a pleasure to be up here with guys like Scott Pruett and Paul Tracy and this group of guys,” Braun said. “They've helped me so much in my early career. Also, this opportunity at Krohn Racing is fantastic. I've been trying to learn as much as possible from my teammates and the crew, and I think we have a chance to do good things here.”
It was Bergmeister's best result since a victory at Phoenix International Raceway last September. Saturday's second-place run coupled with a fifth-place outing in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona moved Braun and Bergmeister atop the Daytona Prototype point standings. They hold an eight-point advantage, 58-50, over #77 Doran Racing co-drivers Terry Borcheller and Harrison Brix with two of 14 events in the books.
“I'm really happy with the car and the new engine,” said Bergmeister. “It has a lot of torque and is pretty fast. To have a fifth-place finish at Daytona and a second-place finish in the second race of the year, is not too bad.”
Finishing third were Mike Borkowski and 2003 Champ Car World Series champion Paul Tracy in the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Riley-Lexus. After Borkowski started only 13th, he and Tracy charged their way to the front of the pack for Tracy's first-ever Rolex Series podium result and was Borkowski's best run since finishing third at Barber Motorsports Park last year.
The third-place run highlighted a tough weekend for Michael Shank's organisation, as Tracy crashed the #6 machine during Thursday's practice sessions and Negri Jr. badly crashed the team's #60 Riley in Friday practice.
“It's great to get a finish under our belt and start working our way back up in the points after not being able to finish Daytona,” said Borkowski. “It also feels good to get Graydon Elliott on the podium. We were really focused on getting a finish here this weekend for those guys, and it's even better to get them up on the podium. The car was much better today than it had been all weekend, and Paul did a great job with the restarts to get us some key positions late in the race. This has been a tough weekend all around, so to make it up to third at the finish is really encouraging for us looking forward to the rest of the season.”
“I really had a blast out there racing with Max (Angelelli), he's pretty much as crazy as I am, and we had a really great fight out there, running door handle to door handle all the way down the front stretch,” added Tracy. “No matter if we had been fighting over 14th place, it was a great battle and that's the kind of racing you get up for in the morning.
“I want to thank Graydon Elliott and Mike Shank for making this opportunity possible, and also really thank Kenny Wilden for stepping out of the car and letting me run this race this weekend. Without all these guys, it just wouldn't have happened. I kind of got us behind early in the weekend with my crash on Thursday, but the team worked hard and we had a strong racecar today. Restarts are pretty much my specialty, and the car was really good under braking so I was able to move up several spots each time.”
Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace earned their first top-four performance of the season with a fourth-place outing in the #4 Howard-Boss Crawford-Ford. It was Wallace's best Rolex Series run since finishing second in the penultimate race of 2005 season at Virginia International Raceway, and was the best performance for Leitzinger since a third-place outing at Phoenix last September.