Derek Kraus will wrap up his rookie season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series on Friday night, competing in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway.
The 19-year-old driver of the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Gates Hydraulics/NAPA Belts & Hoses Toyota Tundra will be making his third truck series start at the 1-mile track in the Valley of the Sun.
Kraus notched an eighth-place finish in making his series debut two years ago at Phoenix. Last year, his race there ended early after contact from another truck put him into the wall. It was one of a handful of truck races he competed in during 2019, as he prepared to run a full season in the series this year.
Phoenix Raceway was also the site of a big celebration for Kraus last year, as he clinched the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship during the big NASCAR weekend. It capped off his third season of driving for Bill McAnally Racing in NASCAR’s top developmental series.
Friday’s truck race will also complete the first season of competition for MHR, which was formed when McAnally partnered with Bill Hilgemann to field an entry for Kraus in the truck series on a full-time basis. Kraus and the team have registered three top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 22 starts this year, including a runner-up finish at Darlington Raceway and a fourth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway.
MHR is led by crew chief Kevin Bellicourt. The team includes J.R. Norris, car chief; Daniel Bailey, engineer; Evan Harding, front end mechanic; George Loux, underneath mechanic; and Steve Kenahan, truck driver. Freddy Kraft serves as the team’s spotter.
The truck series race is part of the big NASCAR championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about this week
What are your thoughts as you prepare to return to Phoenix?
“Phoenix is a really fun racetrack. It’s one of my favorites. So I look forward to going there.”
How would sum up your rookie season in the truck series?
“This year has been very fun for me. I really enjoyed working with all of my guys this year. I feel like we have run very well. We have gathered up a lot of top 10s. I hope to finish the year strong at Phoenix.”