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NASCAR K&N Pro Series Rookie Derek Kraus Holds His Own at Bill McAnally Racing

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West racwe Derek Kraus for Bill McAnally Racing

Derek Kraus is third in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings after eight races

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West rookie Derek Kraus is learning from some of the best drivers. Both of his Bill McAnally Racing teammates, Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston, are K&N Pro Series West champions. Gilliland and Eggleston combined to win the first seven races of the K&N Pro Series West schedule.

The bar is set pretty high at Bill McAnally Racing. But Kraus is putting together an impressive season in his first in the K&N Pro Series West.

“I knew going to Bill McAnally Racing, they have a great crew, great team in the shop and at the race track,” Kraus said. “I was just there for two weeks, spending as much time with the crew,it just shows how much hard work they do. They get there at 6:30 in the morning and leave at 9:30 at night. It just shows they are one of the hardest working in the K&N Series combined, East and West.”

Kraus is third in the K&N Pro Series West standings after eight races. He leads the K&N Pro Series West rookie standings. He has three runner-up finishes and was the highest finishing driver from Bill McAnally Racing at the most recent race at Sonoma Raceway. He came in fifth place.

Kevin Harvick, a driver in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series and the 2014 Cup Series champion, won the West Series race at Sonoma. For Kraus, it was his fifth top-five finish of the season.

“It was a really good run,” said Kraus after the race in Sonoma. “We had a problem in qualifying. We found out we had something wrong with the front suspension. We had to take it out of the tech line and fix it. So, we had to start at the back.”

He started 19th in the 32-car field and worked his way around the 1.99-mile road course like a seasoned veteran. By the end of the race, he was running with the leaders and clicking off laps with ease.

“We got through the field well and the halfway break helped us to make adjustments,” the 17-year-old Kraus said. “After that, our Carlyle Tools Toyota was really good. It was really fun racing here. It was my first time on a road course. I’m really happy with a top-five finish.”

Kraus opened the K&N Pro Series West season with a sixth place finish at Tucson Speedway in Arizona in March. He turned in his first runner-up finish in the second race of the season at Kern County Raceway Park, in California five days later.

Kraus battled Gilliland for the win at Kern County. He said experience was the difference in the race. Gilliland was able to save his tires for the end of the race. Kraus didn’t have enough traction at the end to challenge Gilliland. Still the two raced hard to the checkered flag.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series West racer Derek Kraus of Bill McAnally Racing climbing out of car

Derek Kraus has three runner-up finishes in his rookie season the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West

“We’re teammates. We got to race each other clean,” Kraus said after the race.“Hopefully it will pay back to me if I’m leading the race and he’ll race me clean. Today was a big learning curve on saving tires and everything with the car.”

Kraus had his second runner-up result at Spokane County Raceway Park. He finished second to Gilliland again. Gilliland won his fourth race in a row at Spokane.

The Bill McAnally Racing dominance was apparent again at Colorado National Speedway in June. Eggleston won the race and Kraus was second again. The Bill McAnally Racing drivers qualified 1-2-3 and finished 1-2-3.

“Colorado I felt we had a pretty good car,” Kraus said. “I wish it would have run green for longer toward the end. I felt we had a better car on the longer runs.

“At Orange Show, I felt we had the better car there too. Orange Show and Colorado are the two I could have won. Unfortunately at Orange Show we got spun out. Colorado we had a car that didn’t turn on until 10, 15 laps into a run.”

He finished in 16th place in the Orange Show race. Even though the result wasn’t what he wanted, his car ran with the leaders for most of the race. He spun out late in the race and fell back at the finish.

Kraus will get a chance to test his racing skills against the K&N Pro Series East in the next race. The Casey’s General Store 150 at Iowa Speedway will pit the drivers from the K&N Pro Series East and West in the same race.

“It’ll be my first time there at Iowa as well,” Kraus said. “What I’ve heard is it’s a really fun track. It’s got a lot of characteristics to it with the bumps. I’m pretty excited to be going to Iowa. We will have a really good crowd there hopefully and just really looking forward to it.”


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