Derek Kraus battled his way to a seventh-place finish in a thrilling NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the road course at Daytona International Speedway that went to triple overtime on Friday night.
The 19-year-old Wisconsin driver made a charge to the front in the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 NAPA AutoCare Toyota Tundra – gaining 16 positions in the final 16 laps of the race.
He had started 31st on the grid, among a field of 40 entries that began the race on rain tires due to an earlier rain shower that had moved through the area. He finished the first stage in 18th on Lap 12, but got shuffled back as the field cycled through pit stops – leaving him to restart 30th. He moved up a few spots to finish the second stage in 27th on Lap 25. Teams opted to switch to slick tires for the final segment of the race.
Kraus charged to 17th following the restart, but dropped to 23rd after making his final pit stop of the race on Lap 31. He charged forward on the restart and during subsequent restarts, following a series of cautions that closed out the race. He made his way to the top 10 and was up to seventh as a final caution waved on the last lap of the event.
Ben Rhodes captured the win, giving Toyota its 200th win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Prior to Friday’s race, Kraus made a visit to a couple of NAPA AUTO PARTS stores in the area that are part of the Wall Automotive Group. He signed autographs, visited with customers and made some deliveries for the stores – located in Daytona Beach and Deland.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about the race
How was your race tonight?
“We just stayed patient the whole time. We minded our own business and stayed on track. Overall, we had a pretty good run in our NAPA AutoCare Tundra. I struggled a little bit tonight on the road course. I was really uncomfortable in the rain, and then we ended up in the top-10, so that was good.”
How much are you looking forward to Las Vegas?
“Really, it’s the first oval race on the schedule and I really look forward to that. Last year in Vegas, we ran really good. Going to Vegas, we just have to have another good clean run, get some stage points and try to be up front all night.”