Bill McAnally Racing’s three drivers experienced the ups and downs of NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday.
All three drivers ran strong early in the Zombie Auto 150, but ran into troubles that left them without the finishes they were aiming for at the high-banked, half-mile Tennessee track.
Cole Rouse finished 21st in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry after being caught up in a multi-car wreck 14 laps from the finish. After being sidelined for 20 laps with mechanical trouble, Hailie Deegan battled back to finish 22nd in the No. 19 Mobil 1/NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry. Derek Kraus, in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, came away 24th – after contact with the wall.
Kraus and Rouse had charged toward the front from the back of the field. Deegan – who raced from 16th on the grid – was also on the move, but ended up in the pits after her car failed to restart following a red flag on Lap 34. Her crew traced the issue to a fuel problem and got her back on track, where she paced the field to the finish.
Kraus made his way into the top 10 by Lap 48, with Rouse two positions behind him. They moved to ninth and 10th, where they battled back-and-forth through Lap 101. Kraus spun coming off Turn 2 on Lap 107, then was eliminated after hitting the wall on Lap 119.
Rouse continued his charge and was up to eighth, before slipping back several positions. His day ended in a multi-car incident on Lap 136.
Todd Gilliland, who after two record-setting seasons with BMR is racing a limited schedule for his father’s team this year, pulled away in the late stages of the race to capture the win.
Kraus and Rouse are both in their second season of competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Kraus is a 16-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin; and Rouse is a 20-year-old from Fort Smith, Arkansas. Deegan – a NASCAR Next driver from Temecula, California – is a 16-year-old series rookie.
A group of NAPA guests got the VIP treatment at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday – attending a meet-and-greet session with the BMR drivers, getting a behind-the-scenes view with a special garage tour, and attending the drivers meeting.
The K&N East race from Bristol is slated to be televised on NBCSN on April 20 at 1 a.m. ET.