He may be a rookie in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, but Derek Kraus is looking like a veteran.
The driver of the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra led his first laps in the series and nearly won the second stage of the race, before eventually coming away with another top-10 finish on Friday in the KDI Office Technology 200 at Dover International Speedway.
With his 10th-place finish, he remains locked in a tight battle for a spot in the playoffs. He is 11th in the championship standings – four points below the cutoff line, with three races remaining in the regular season.
After starting 16th in Friday’s race on the track known as the Monster Mile, Kraus managed to finish 11th in the first stage. Some pit strategy by his MHR team put him sixth for the restart. He steadily battled his way to the front and then worked by lapped traffic to take the lead on Lap 79. He led nine laps, before slipping a spot and finishing second in the second stage.
After pitting for four tires and fuel under caution, he restarted ninth on Lap 97. He gained a spot to eighth and retained that spot through a long-green flag run that included a pit stop on Lap 165. He stepped up the pace in the late stages of the race, charging to seventh by Lap 180 and sixth by Lap 184. A late caution and restart with three laps to go left him at the mercy of several trucks behind him that pitted for fresh tires – leaving him to finish 10th.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about the Dover race
Led your first laps in a truck, and came home with another top-10 finish today. How was your run today?
“It was a good run. It gave me a lot of confidence running up front with those guys and almost getting a stage win. Just got stuck behind a little bit of lap traffic and the 21 (Zane Smith) was able to get by. MHR (McAnally-Hilgemann Racing) brought me a really good ENEOS Toyota Tundra. I’ve got a lot of confidence going into the next race.”
You’ve won in ARCA at Gateway. What is your excitement level heading into St. Louis?
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s definitely going to be a fun race track. I’ve been there before and I’ve had a lot of laps there, so I feel like we will have a good truck. I’m going in there knowing what to expect throughout the race, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Event:
Race: KDI Office Technology 200, Aug. 21, 2020
Location: Dover International Speedway, Dover, Del. (1-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; Lap 45 / Lap 90 / Lap 200
No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra
Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.
Stage 1: 11th
Stage 2: 2nd
Finished: 10th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Laps led: 9
Race Winner: Zane Smith
2020 Series stats:
Races: 13 starts, 2 top fives, 8 top 10s
Laps led: 9
Laps completed: 1,553/1,563
Series standings: 11th
WWT Raceway 200 presented by CK Power, Aug. 30, 2020, World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
McAnally-Hilgemann Racing PR