Kraus dominates K&N West action at Kern County
For Hub City Times
BAKERSFIELD, CA – Derek Kraus turned in another dominant performance in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West action at Kern County Raceway Park on Oc. 26, scoring his fourth consecutive win at the high-banked, half-mile track with a victory in the NAPA / ENEOS 150 presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, led wire-to-wire in his Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to pick up his fifth K&N West win of the year and 10th of his career.
“We had a really good NAPA Toyota,” said Kraus, who with the fastest lap in qualifying notched his second pole of the season and eighth of his career. “We unloaded on Friday and we were really fast right off the trailer. That really helps when you can unload at the race track and be fast. We just tweaked on it a little bit throughout the weekend.”
Although Kraus appeared to be on cruise control throughout the race, he faced a green-white-checkered finish when the caution came out with two laps to go. He pulled away on the restart, leaving no doubt about his dominance.
“I had a lot of things running through my head,” Kraus said about that last restart. “There’s a lot that could have gone wrong and could have happened. I needed to execute my restart well. That’s what I did and we were able to finish the race strong.”
Kraus came into the event with a 40-point lead in the championship standings and with the win he extended that margin to 47 points – coming within one point of clinching the title with one race remaining. The championship will be his by just taking the green flag in that season finale. Nevertheless, he said he had tried to not think about the title during Saturday’s race.
“I was just really focused on tonight’s race,” he said.
Kraus becomes just the third driver in the history of the series to win four consecutive races at one track. Hershel McGriff had five straight wins at the old half-mile Portland Speedway in Oregon, 1971-1973; and six-time series champion Ray Elder had four consecutive victories at Ascot Park, 1967-1970.
With 13 of 14 races complete this season, Kraus has five wins, 10 top-five, and 12 top-10 finishes. He also scored two wins earlier in the season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The race at KCRP will be televised to a national audience on NBCSN on Oct. 31.
The next event on the K&N West schedule will be the season finale at ISM Raceway near Phoenix on Nov. 9.