Kraus charges to fourth-place finish at Daytona
For Hub City Times
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Derek Kraus charged to a fourth-place finish as the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series kicked off its 2020 season under the lights with the NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday.
The 18-year-old from Stratford managed to avoid a big wreck late in the event by choosing to hang back in the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Shockwave Toyota Tundra.
On the restart, Kraus weaved his way forward in a two-lap dash to the finish in overtime to grab fourth place in his first visit to the 2.5-mile superspeedway and take the honors as the top finishing rookie.
Kraus had qualified 16th and made an early move into the top 10, but slowed with a vibration and had to pit on Lap 10. He quickly got back on the lead lap, then was later penalized for exiting too fast during a pit stop at the end of Stage 2. He restarted in 29th on Lap 57.
Kraus was up to 13th by Lap 70, but opted to hold back out of the lead pack as the laps wound down. The move paid off as he was able to avoid a multi-vehicle pileup on Lap 99 and restart the race from the fourth spot in overtime.
“It feels really good to finish fourth. We’re really excited to start the season off on a strong note,” Kraus said. “We were intentionally hanging back during the race, just to wait until they wrecked. Then I was able to race hard in that green-white-checkered finish. It’s a really great way to start the season and I’m pumped.”
Kraus’ next race is the Strat 200 on Feb. 21 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.