Darlington Raceway is known as the Track Too Tough To Tame – but as a rookie last year, Derek Kraus was able to charge to a runner-up finish in his first visit there.
Kraus, who drives the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Tundra, is aiming to do even better when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to the historic South Carolina track on Friday.
Although he was mired back in the field throughout much of last year’s race, pit strategy put Kraus up front as the event went into overtime. He shot into the lead on the final restart, but slipped to second when his truck got loose coming off Turn 2. He took the checkered flag in the runner-up spot, to score his career-best series finish.
The Darlington race is part of the annual NASCAR Throwback Weekend that is immensely popular with fans. The MHR entry that Kraus will be driving there this year will feature the 2003 NAPA AUTO PARTS paint scheme that went to Victory Lane with Michael Waltrip in the Daytona 500.
The throwback scheme celebrates the achievement by Waltrip and NAPA in winning that race. MHR co-owner Bill McAnally has had a long partnership with NAPA AUTO PARTS that spans more than 30 years and a long-term friendship with Michel Waltrip, as well.
In last year’s throwback race at Darlington, MHR featured a paint scheme that honored NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Ron Hornaday and NAPA AUTO PARTS. Kraus and the team are aiming for another great finish on Friday.
MHR will welcome a special group of guests from Walker Auto & Truck’s NAPA AUTO PARTS stores in the region. The stores are utilizing sales programs with race event tickets and suite passes – along with the opportunity to be a guest crew member.
In advance of the race, Kraus and team co-owner Bill McAnally will visit the NAPA store in Lumberton, North Carolina – which won a recent virtual tool sale. They will participate in a meet-and-greet with customers and staff – in support of NAPA Power Premium Plus, NGK, NAPA Belts & Hoses, and DENSO Radiators and AC Compressors.
Derek Kraus – About this week
Thoughts about returning to Darlington
“It’s one of the most challenging tracks the series visits, but one that I look forward to. I’m ready to get back there.”
How special is the Throwback Weekend to you?
“It’s a lot of fun for everyone. It’s great to recognize the sport’s past with these vintage paint schemes.”
Thoughts about his win in the 2003 Daytona 500
“We were dominant and then the rains came. Most of the time a dominant car doesn’t win a rain race, because others take chances to steal the victory – but we were able to do so. I’m very proud of that win.”