Derek Kraus and the Bill McAnally Racing team took home top honors Saturday night after being crowned NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champions at the NASCAR Awards ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Crown Ballroom in Charlotte, North Carolina.
It marked the first NASCAR championship for Kraus – a Stratford, Wisconsin 18-year-old who was behind the wheel of BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
With a ninth series title, meanwhile, the Roseville, California-based BMR team established a new record for winning championships in the series and for NASCAR Regional Touring overall.
Bill McAnally accepted the championship car owner trophy during the awards ceremony, which Mike Curb was not available to attend. Mike Rearden accepted the championship sponsor award on behalf of NAPA AUTO PARTS. The championship crew chief award went to John Camilleri.
Kraus was presented with the championship trophy and NASCAR championship ring.
“Just to be able to compete in the K&N Series is amazing to me, and to be on stage as a champion is very humbling,” Kraus said.
“From sitting in the stands with my mom, watching my dad race, to racing go karts and getting my first victory, I just fell in love with the sport,” he said. “From the time I told them I knew racing is what I wanted to do, they’ve supported me in every way possible, and so has my sister, Lauren. We race as a family and it means everything to me.”
Kraus set the pace for much of this season – leading 812 of 1,844 laps of K&N West competition. He led laps in 10 of the 14 races, led the most laps in six of those events, and led flag-to-flag in three of the events. He scored five wins, along with two poles, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 series starts.
He wrapped up his season with a 49-point lead in the standings; the largest margin since the series adopted its current point system in 2012.
Kraus also finished seventh in the standings for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year – with two wins, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in nine starts.
In addition to the championship, BMR also celebrated having all three of its drivers in the top five of the final championship standings for 2019 – with Hailie Deegan being presented the trophy for finishing third and series rookie Brittney Zamora taking home the hardware for fifth place.
Deegan – an 18-year-old from Temecula, California – was in her second year of series competition, driving the No. 19 Monster Energy / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota for BMR. She added to her record-setting rookie season of a year ago, this year becoming the first woman to lead the championship standings of a series at the regional or national levels of NASCAR.
In finishing third in points, she set a new mark for the highest ranking by a female driver in the final standings in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, East or West.
Deegan concluded her year with two wins, three poles, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
Zamora drove BMR’s No. 99 NAPA Filters / ENEOS Toyota Camry in her freshman year in the series. In addition to finishing fifth in the overall standings, she was second in rookie points for 2019. The 20-year-old from Kennewick, Washington scored two pole awards, along with six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
Deegan and Zamora also ran select events in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East this year – finishing 10th and 11th, respectively, in the final standings.
While it was BMR’s ninth K&N West championship, four of those titles came in the past five years. Previous series championships were in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017. In terms of victories, BMR now has 99 overall wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series.
“This marked another great season for everyone at BMR,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “All three drivers and their teams should be proud of what they accomplished. It’s been great to be a part of the development of all three of these drivers.
“Derek has demonstrated his talent behind the wheel during his three years at BMR, and this year it netted him a championship,” McAnally said. “Hailie continued to break barriers and set records in her second season with BMR. And Brittney stepped up to the challenge of moving up to the K&N Series this year.
“Of course, none of this would be possible without the great sponsors we have,” McAnally said. “We are grateful for their support and continued loyalty.”