A late-race shuffle left Derek Kraus with an 18th-place finish on Saturday in his first visit to Martinsville Speedway and only his second NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race.
Kraus had charged up to 12th in Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 19 ENEOS / NAPA Toyota Tundra, but a restart with only three laps to go made way for some rough and tumble action that pushed him high on the track.
The 17-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin had qualified 11th earlier in the day. In the race, he got a lap behind and then battled to get back on the lead lap with about 50 laps remaining. He started picking off the competition from there, working his way toward the top 10 before the caution came out with less than 10 laps to go.
“We fell behind early and had to just work throughout the day to get back on the lead lap,” Kraus said. “Once we did, we were able to pass a lot of trucks with our ENEOS Tundra. We got back up there, but got caught up in someone else’s mess.”
Kraus acknowledged how tough it can be to race around the paperclip-shaped, half-mile Virginia track.
“It’s definitely a challenging place to race,” he said. “It can get frustrating at times, but overall it was a pretty good day for our BMR team.”
Saturday’s race marked BMR’s first truck race with ENEOS branding. ENEOS joined the team at the beginning of the year as a primary sponsor on the team’s Tundra – along with NAPA AUTO PARTS, NAPA Filters, and Toyota/TRD.
This is the first of four races in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series that Kraus is slated to compete in with BMR this year. The next truck series race on his schedule will be at Dover International Speedway in Delaware on May 3.
The four truck races are on off weekends from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, where Kraus is in his third full season competing for BMR – driving the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry. In addition, he is running select events this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – where he won the season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway as part of NASCAR’s Speedweeks.
In advance of the Martinsville event, the BMR team made a special visit for a store showing at a NAPA Store in Reidsville, North Carolina on Thursday. At the track on Saturday, a special VIP experience was provided for a group from NAPA Power Premium Plus, selected through a sales promotion. Activities included a VIP suite and a special chance to visit the garage area.
The race, which was won by Kyle Busch, was televised live on FOX and was also carried live on MRN radio.