Derek Kraus came away with a third-place finish in the NAPA / ENEOS 150 at Irwindale Speedway on Saturday, to lead the way among four Bill McAnally Racing entries that all finished in the top 10 in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition before a sell-out crowd at the Southern California track.
Following Kraus in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry were his BMR teammates – with Hailie Deegan finishing fifth in the No. 19 Monster Energy/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry, Brittney Zamora taking eighth in the No. 99 ENEOS / NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, and local driver Dylan Garner coming home ninth while making his series debut in BMR’s No. 50 Global Emission Systems / Kooks Headers Toyota Camry.
Deegan led the way in qualifying earlier in the day, capturing her third career series pole award. Kraus was second quickest in time trials, giving BMR the front row for the third straight race at Irwindale. Garner qualified sixth, meanwhile, with Zamora 11th.
Kraus jumped into the early lead and paced the field for the first 25 laps, with Deegan running close behind. While Garner settled into eighth, Zamora made a quick charge to fifth. Kraus appeared content to slip back a few spots in the first half of the race, but then charged from third to first on the restart following the midway break. Deegan spun a few laps later while battling for second and spent the second half of the race working her way back to the front.
Kraus seemed headed for victory, but came up short with brake issues just seven laps from the finish.
“We just ran out of brakes while leading,” said the 17-year-old driver from Stratford, Wisconsin. “We went into Turn 1 without brakes.”
Despite the disappointment, Kraus remained upbeat about the event and leading the most laps.
“It was definitely a fun night,” he said. “We had a really good NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. We’re looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Kraus watched from third as Trevor Huddleston edged Tanner Gray in a thrilling side-by-side finish.
BMR has 14 overall K&N Pro Series victories at Irwindale and was going for a sixth consecutive K&N West win at the half-mile track.
With her top-five finish, Deegan retained her lead in the championship standings. The 17-year-old from Temecula, California is the first woman to lead the championship standings of a series at the regional or national level of NASCAR.
Kraus is fourth in the standings; while Zamora – a 19-year-old series rookie from Kennewick, Washington – is eighth in points.
Deegan and Kraus are both members of the NASCAR Next program that spotlights NASCAR’s emerging stars.
Garner, 20, hails from Yorba Linda, California.
Guests in attendance at Saturday’s race included NAPA store owners and shop owners, selected through a sales promotion with NAPA’s Los Angeles Distribution Center. Also on hand was a large group representing NAPA Power Premium Plus, and other manufacturers from NAPA.
Guests from ENEOS were also in attendance at the event, which was the first NASCAR K&N Pro Series race in which ENEOS was involved as a sponsor.
The Irwindale race will be televised to a national audience on NBCSN on April 8 at 5 p.m. PT.
The next event on the K&N West schedule will be the Port of Tucson twin races at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway on May 11.