31 July 2006
Krohn goes back-to-back at Barber.
Jorg Bergmeister and the #76 Krohn Racing team tightened their grasp on the Grand-Am Rolex Series title with a second-consecutive victory, this time with Bergmeister and 17-year old co-driver Colin Braun leading the way home at Barber Motorsports Park.
Braun, who started the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant from the pole position, led throughout his 35-lap opening stint before pitting to turn the car over to his German team-mate on lap 36. However, with threatening clouds overhead and four full-course caution periods before the halfway point in the race, teams used various pit strategies that prevented Bergmeister from getting back to the front of the pack until lap 78 of the scheduled 97, when Alex Gurney finally pitted the #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Riley to hand over to co-driver Jon Fogarty.
As the day's fifth full-course caution came out on lap 83, Bergmeister managed to get on and off pit-road for a splash of fuel without surrendering the lead. However, on the ensuing restart, defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Angelelli closed right up behind the Krohn car to set up a battle to the finish. Bergmeister continued to lead through a final full-course caution, which lasted from laps 89-92, but Angelelli again pressured the German for the first few laps after the restart, before Bergmeister was able to pull away to win by 1.327secs.
It was Bergmeister's third victory of the season, following his triumph alongside Braun in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona and the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen with co-driver Boris Said last month. It was also his fourth-consecutive top-two finish and his sixth podium in eleven races this season, allowing him to open up a 39-point lead over Angelelli in the DP driver standings with three races remaining on the schedule.
"The whole team has really picked it up lately," Bergmeister said, "I got a little lucky in traffic during my stint, using the GT cars to my advantage. We thought we could make it on just one stop, so I was conserving my tyres early. It turned out for the best because even though I had to come back to the pits for a splash of fuel later in the race, I had enough rubber to hold Max off."
Braun, meanwhile, celebrated his second victory, third straight top-two finish and his fifth podium in nine starts this season. Despite sitting out the Sahlen's Six Hours and the Grand Prix of Miami in March, the teenager has moved into a tie with Playboy/Uniden Racing's Michael McDowell for fifth in the championship.
"It was just a really good weekend for all the guys at Krohn Racing," Braun said, "Our engineer, Steve Newey, put a nice set-up on the car, and the crew has been working so hard lately. The win was a testament to the Ford engine and Riley chassis. Hopefully, we'll keep this streak going."
Angelelli and co-driver Jan Magnussen came home second in the #10 machine, their best performance together since taking victory in May's Road & Track 250 at Laguna Seca, and the second-place performance - coupled with a tenth-place outing by #01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz - catapulted Angelelli into second in the driver standings.
In the final turn of the race, the #75 Krohn Racing entry of Nic Jonsson made contact with the rear of Pruett's Riley-Lexus, dropping the #01 machine from fifth to tenth. Jonsson and the #75 team were subsequently docked one minute following the race for avoidable contact.
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