Derek Kraus went to school at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday night and came away with a 16th-place finish in his first visit to the 1.5-mile speedway, as the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series returned to racing in an event without any practice or qualifying.
Kraus is in his rookie season in the series, competing with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing in the No. 19 NAPA Filters Tundra.
Tuesday’s action, the third truck race of the season, marked the first on-track event for the series since February, due to a race stoppage because of the Covid-19 pandemic. NASCAR implemented a health and safety plan for this and other return events, which includes being run without fans in attendance. Practice and qualifying has also been eliminated, but most in-race procedures remained the same.
Kraus started 25th in a 40-truck field, by virtue of owner points and a random draw. Despite never turning a lap at the historic speedway, he managed to move up to 15th by the end of Stage 1 on Lap 30. He got shuffled back on the restart, however, and ended Stage 2 in 18th on Lap 60. He advanced as high as 13th, but was shuffled back to 17th in the hard-fought battle for positions. He was on the move late, gaining a spot to 16th at the checkers.
Prior to the race, the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing team visited NAPA’s new Charlotte Distribution Center and main district store on Monday afternoon. Kraus and Bill McAnally were on hand, with the team’s race day transporter and No. 19 NAPA Filters Tundra on display.
With NASCAR honoring frontline health care workers, the name of Nolan Gerety – a Portland, Ore., paramedic with American Medical Response – was displayed above the driver’s door of the MHR Tundra. Garety was being honored as a Star of Life for his actions in saving a pedestrian who had been struck by a drunk driver.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about Charlotte
Talking about his first race at the historic track
“It was fun. These guys prepared a really good Tundra and I learned a lot for the next few races. I’m really excited for the next few weeks.”
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Event:
Race: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, May 26, 2020
Location: Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. (1.5-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; Lap 30 / Lap 60 / Lap 134
No. 19 NAPA Filters Toyota Tundra
Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.
Stage 1: 15th
Stage 2: 18th
Finished: 16th (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Race Winner: Chase Elliott
2020 Series Stats:
Races: 3 starts, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Laps completed: 371/374
Series standings: 12th
Vet Tix Camping World 200, June 6, 2020, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hampton, Ga. (1.54-mile oval)