Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson gave the #76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola its second victory of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, winning the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen.
Zonta led the final 21 circuits, holding off Scott Pruett by 3.325 seconds to win the two-hour event on the Watkins Glen 2.45-mile short circuit despite flat-spotting his tyres on the final restart.
"We were not happy after qualifying," said Jonsson, who started eighth, the furthest a race-winning car has come from in 2009. "Then we changed the car completely around, using the same setup we used here in the Sahlen's Six Hours. Even though the long course we raced in June is very different from the short course we raced tonight, it worked out."
Zonta and Jonsson finished ninth at Watkins Glen in June, in a race won by Pruett and Rojas. It was the third Daytona Prototype victory for Jonsson - who won the 2005 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen with team owner Tracy Krohn - and second for Zonta.
"We've had some small problems in the last three races, and we did not qualify well here," Zonta said. "From qualifying to the race we found what was missing with the balance of the car. The race was very difficult. When I got the lead over Scott, I thought I could maintain the gap. But then Scott closed in, and it became very risky with the traffic. But at the end, everything was okay."
The second-place finish gave Pruett and Memo Rojas sole possession of the point lead with only three races remaining in the Daytona Prototype championship. The drivers of the #01 TELMEX Lexus Riley, fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, took a four-point lead over fourth-place finishers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the #99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley fielded by Bob Stallings Racing (248-244), after entering the event tied for the lead.
"It seemed everyone was out of sequence, and everyone was doing different strategies," said Rojas, who led twice for 22 laps. "We were doing a conservative strategy because of the points. If you gamble, things can go really wrong, and tonight the points worked out for us."
Pruett ran second to Zonta down the stretch, but could not get by for the race lead.
"Ricardo could be absolutely more aggressive," Pruett said. "We just didn't have quite enough for him tonight. Traffic was very interesting down the stretch. We did everything we had to do. In a race like this, every point counts."
Fogarty led the opening five laps from the pole before being passed by Rojas. Timo Bernhard led five laps in Penske Racing's #12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley before pitting. Other leaders included Brian Frisselle, Ricky Taylor and Mark Wilkins. Taylor led 22 laps in the #13 Beyer Racing Chevrolet Riley, while defending race winner Mark Wilkins led six laps in the #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley before finishing seventh, co-driving with Burt Frisselle.