Derek Kraus and the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing team put on another great performance on a superspeedway in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series on Saturday, leading 19 of 94 laps and scoring a stage win on the way to notching a top-10 finish at Talladega Superspeedway.
Kraus took advantage of a caution and restart with two laps remaining to charge ahead in his No. 19 Shockwave Seats/ENEOS Toyota Tundra and finish 10th – as the race ended under caution, due to a multi-truck crash on the final lap.
After starting 17th on the grid, the 19-year-old series rookie methodically worked his way forward and finished 10th in the first stage of the race, at Lap 20. With his team opting not to pit, he took the lead under caution and paced the field to the start. He remained out front and won the second stage, after leading 19 laps. Kraus made a pit stop for fuel and fresh tires and restarted in fourth.
He held steady in the top five through Lap 64, when he returned to the pits under green. He fell out of the draft in the shuffle, however, and ended up in 22nd as the field cycled through the green-flag stops. He worked his way up to 16th under green, but knew he would need a caution to get back to the front. Kraus got his chance when the yellow came out on Lap 88. He mounted a charge in the outside lane on the restart and was making his way to the front when trucks started spinning and crashing going down the backstretch on the final lap and the caution came out – freezing the field and determining the final rundown.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about this week
Top-10 finishes in both restrictor plate races for you this season. How was your race?
“It was exciting for sure. We were able to get a stage win there. That was really good for our team. On the green flag pit stop, we just missed a little bit. My team gave me a great stop, and I just didn’t get out of the box right. I was held back a little bit, but we were able to stay on the lead lap, and just waited out for the yellow. We got the yellow at the end, and we were able to race really hard. I was pushing Chandler (Smith) there at the end. We were getting close to the front, and everything got congested and we ended up 10th, but overall it was a great day. We brought home a clean truck and that’s as good as it gets at a plate track.”
Next up is Kansas, where you had a great doubleheader earlier this year. How excited are you to get back there?
“I’m really excited to get back there. We had two really good runs there, and going there for a second time will be really cool. I’m really looking forward to it. I know that everyone at MHR (McAnally-Hilgemann Racing) will bring me a really fast Toyota Tundra, and that will be great.”