The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will kick off its 2021 season with the NextEra Energy 250 on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway on Friday.
Coming off an impressive rookie year, Derek Kraus looks to build on that success as he embarks on his sophomore season behind the wheel of the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Shockwave / Gates Hydraulics NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Tundra.
The 19-year-old from Stratford, Wisc., finished 11th in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings last year – missing the playoffs by just one position. He registered three top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 23 starts, including a runner-up finish at Darlington and a fourth-place finish at Daytona.
The 2020 season was particularly tough for rookies, with practice and qualifying sessions eliminated following the Covid-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, Kraus had a great year. He led the series in terms of green flag passes and was third in total laps completed.
He is anxious to get back on track this season, with a year of experience under his belt. Kraus also looks forward to working with crew chief Matt Noyce, who joined the team in the off season. Noyce previously served as crew chief for Ben Rhodes in Camping World Trucks the past two years and with Jesse Little prior to that.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about this week
What are your thoughts as you prepare to begin your second full season in the Camping World Truck Series?
“I’m really looking forward to this year. I feel like it’ll be a lot better with going to the track for a second time, so then I will be able to take what I learned last year into this year. I’m also looking forward to working with my new crew chief Matt Noyce.”
What will it take to open the season with another great finish at Daytona, as you did last year?
“At Daytona, I just have to try and stay out of the wrecks and be there at the end, like I did last year. I’ve got to be patient all night long and if we are running at the end of the race we have a chance to win it. You’ve got to be in it to win it and we are in it.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event:
Race: NextEra Energy 250 (100 Laps) (Race 1 of 22) Feb. 12, 2021
Location: Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. (2.5-mile oval)
Television: FS1 on Feb. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET
No. 19 Shockwave / Gates Hydraulics NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Tundra
Hometown: Stratford, Wisc.
Career series stats: 28 starts, 3 top fives, 15 top 10s
Most recent series finish: 24th – Phoenix (11/6/20)
Best career series finish: 2nd – Darlington (9/6/20)
Last series finish at Daytona: 4th (2/14/20)