Derek Kraus turned in his best performance of the season on the dirt track of Knoxville Speedway on Friday night – winning the pole, scoring stage points, grabbing a sixth-place finish and gaining ground in the championship standings of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The 20-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin hunted for the fast way around the historic half-mile Iowa dirt track with the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet Silverado RST, as he challenged for the win in the Clean Harbors 150 presented by Premier Chevy Dealers.
He started his night off with a strong performance in his heat race, winning the pole award at Knoxville for the second straight year. With the leaders shuffling positions, Kraus slipped back early – but was able to battle back to finish fourth at the end of Stage 1. He charged forward after the restart and was battling for the lead by Lap 47. A couple of cautions later led to him finishing fifth in Stage 2.
With four drivers opting not to pit at the end of that stage, Kraus restarted in eighth – then quickly began battling his way back to the front. He was up third, in position to contend for the win, when the final yellow flag of the race came out. Having to line up on the inside line for the restart with four laps remaining, Kraus was at a disadvantage as he struggled for traction – but was able to secure a sixth-place finish.
His MHR teammate, Colby Howard in the No. 91 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST, turned in another solid run this season, meanwhile. Although he was fourth quickest in practice on Friday evening, he ended up qualifying 22nd on race day. He battled throughout the event to try to gain track position, but faced a tough challenge in heavy traffic back in the field. Although he and his crew were not able to find the speed they had in practice, Howard was able to work his way up to finish the race in 16th.
The sixth-place finish by Kraus, along with the prestigious stage points he gained, moved him up two positions to 11th in the championship standings – just 27 points below the cutoff line for the playoffs. Howard also gained two spots in the standings, moving up to 17th.
MHR worked with the NAPA Distribution Center in Des Moines in coordinating sponsor activities at Knoxville. In advance of the race, the team visited NAPA AutoCare repair shops in the area. At the track, MHR welcomed a group of VIP garage guests from Premier Auto Parts. They were treated to a VIP Experience, with special access to the MHR drivers and the team’s No. 19 and No. 91 Chevy Silverados – along with the chance to celebrate the pole award with the MHR team.
Quote – Derek Kraus
“The race was a good solid day, like we needed. Everyone on the MHR team worked really hard to get our Chevy to where it needed to be. We just started on the bottom on that last restart and couldn’t get very good traction. But overall, it was a really good night and a good points night.”
Quote – Colby Howard
“It was frustrating all night. We ended practice really well, but never would get our truck to feel like that again. We’ll regroup and be ready for Nashville.”
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Event:
Race: Clean Harbors 150 pres. by Premier Chevy Dealers (150 Laps) (Race 13 of 23) June 18, 2022
Location: Knoxville Raceway, Knoxville, Iowa (1/2-mile dirt oval)
Format: Three Stages; Lap 40 / Lap 90 / Lap 150
No. 19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet Silverado RST
Hometown: Stratford, Wis.
Stage 1: 4th
Stage 2: 5th
Finished: 6th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Career series stats:
63 starts, 3 poles, 4 top fives, 23 top 10s
2022 series stats:
Races: 13 starts, 1 pole, 4 top 10s
Laps completed: 1,668/1,736
Laps led: 15
Series standings: 11th
No. 91 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST
Hometown: Simpsonville, S.C.
Stage 1: 16th
Stage 2: 18th
Finished: 16th (Running, completed 150 of 150 laps)
Career series stats:
2022 series stats:
Races: 13 starts
Laps completed: 1,613/1,736
Laps led: 9
Series standings: 17th
Rackley Roofing 200, June 24, 2022, Nashville Superspeedway, Lebanon, Tenn. (1.333-mile oval)
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!