Derek Kraus came away with a top-10 finish in making his debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway on Friday night.
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin drove the Bill McAnally Racing No. 19 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Tundra to an eighth-place finish in his first visit to the one-mile track.
Kraus, who was fifth on the speed chart in the final practice session earlier in the day, qualified eighth in time trials. He charged up to fifth in the early laps of the race. After being shuffled back to 15th following pit stops at the end of Stage 1, he worked his way back into the top 10 during the second stage. He was as high as fifth on a restart three laps from the finish, then took the checkered flag in eighth following a fierce battle in the closing laps.
“It was a great run for our first time out,” Kraus said. “The BMR crew brought me a really good No. 19 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Tundra. It was a bonus for the end of the year that we had a really good run.”
Kraus said he plans to learn from this first venture into the truck series.
“I needed to be a little more aggressive on the restarts,” he said. “That would help a lot, to get spots early while tires are really fresh and cold. We will learn and adjust from this.”
Team owner Bill McAnally praised Kraus and the BMR crew for their success on Friday.
“Derek did an outstanding job in making his first truck series start such a success, especially considering it was his first time to race at ISM Raceway,” McAnally said. “He didn’t hesitate to challenge the veterans of the series and race door-to-door with them.
“The NAPA team provided him with a fast Toyota Tundra,” McAnally added. “I’m proud of the hard work by everybody involved in this effort.”
Friday’s race, which was won by Brett Moffitt, was televised live on FOX Sports 1 and was also carried live on MRN radio.
Kraus recently completed his second full season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – driving BMR’s No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. He led the series this season in terms of wins, with four, and poles, with five. He also led the most laps of competition.