The excitement has been building for months as NASCAR prepares for its first weekend of dirt racing on the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway.
Kicking off the NASCAR action at the half-mile track will be the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Saturday night.
Derek Kraus – who wheels the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Hunter Nation Toyota Tundra – enters the event with dirt track experience under his belt, having competed on a dirt track in NASCAR’s regional level. During his three years driving for Bill McAnally Racing in what was then the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, he competed in two events at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track – in 2018 and 2019.
Kraus won his heat race during preliminary action in each of the two years of racing at the half-mile Vegas venue. He went on to lead the most laps in 2018, setting the pace for 31 of the 102 laps. He was caught up in a late-race incident, however, that sidelined him with a 17th-place finish. The following year, he again led the most laps, running out front for 60 of 100 laps, on his way to a sixth-place finish.
Camping World Truck Series drivers will get their first experience on the dirt surface at Bristol during practice on Friday. Four 15-lap heat races on Saturday will determine the starting lineup for the main event later that night. In addition to the Camping World Truck Series, the NASCAR Cup Series will be in competition on the dirt at Bristol – with a main event on Sunday.
Derek Kraus – About this week
“I’m really not sure what to think about the dirt race coming up this weekend. I want to stay patient and be there at the end of the race to get a good finish.”
Do you think your experience racing on the dirt track at Las Vegas in the K&N Series will benefit you?
“I plan to use my notes and experience from those K&N races to help me at Bristol.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event:
Race: Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt (150 Laps) (Race 5 of 22) March 27, 2021
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tenn. (1/2-mile dirt oval)
Television: FS1 on March 27 at 8 p.m. ET
No. 19 Hunter Nation Toyota Tundra
Hometown: Stratford, Wis.
Career series stats: 32 starts, 3 top fives, 16 top 10s
Most recent series finish: 13th – Atlanta (3/20/21)
Best career series finish: 2nd – Darlington (9/6/20)
Last series finish at Bristol Dirt Track: Inaugural event
2021 Series stats:
Races: 4 starts, 1 top 10
Average finish: 21.2
Laps completed: 362/416
Series standings: 15th