Kraus takes fifth in first road course race
Rookie is third in overall NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings
For Hub City Times
SONOMA, California — Derek Kraus charged from the back of the pack to finish fifth at Sonoma Raceway on June 24 in the Carneros 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event, his first race on a road course.
Kraus, a 15-year-old series rookie from Stratford, Wisconsin, led the charge among the full-time Bill McAnally Racing drivers, who all finished in the top 10. Todd Gilliland was sixth, and Chris Eggleston was 10th. With their top-10 finishes, the trio of BMR drivers maintained the top three positions in the championship standings.
“It was a really good run,” said Kraus. “We had a problem in qualifying. We found out we had something wrong with the front suspension. We had to take it out of the tech line and fix it, so we had to start at the back.”
“We got through the field well, and the halfway break helped us to make adjustments,” he said. “It was really fun racing here. It was my first time on a road course. I’m really happy with a top-five finish.”
Gilliland, who started eighth on the grid, battled handling issues and was relieved to finish where he did.
“We had a really loose race car today,” said Gilliland, the 17-year-old defending series champion from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. “It was probably an 11th- or 12th-place car, but we stayed positive and didn’t make mistakes. It was all good. … It was a good points day, and we’re looking forward to getting back on ovals.”
The race, which is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on June 29, was won by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick.
Gilliland retained his lead in the championship standings with an 11-point margin over Eggleston. Kraus, who leads all rookies in points, is third in the overall standings.
The next event on the circuit will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway on July 28.