Stratford’s Kraus has new crew chief
For Hub City Times
ROSEVILLE, Calif. — McAnally-Hilgemann Racing announced July 2 Charles Denike as the new chief for Stratford native Derek Kraus and the No. 19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Denike, who has two series wins on his resume, joins the team after serving for three seasons as a crew chief with GMS Racing, which developed an alliance with MHR at the beginning of this year.
“We’re excited to have Charles join our team,” said MHR co-owner Bill McAnally. “We’re confident that he will strengthen our overall team as we move ahead and help us take full advantage of the opportunities we have available through our alliance with GMS Racing.”
Denike worked with Grant Enfinger this season, Tyler Ankrum in 2021 and multiple drivers in 2020. He went to victory lane with Chase Elliott driving for GMS Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2020 and with Sam Mayer behind the wheel of a GMS Racing Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway that same year.
Denike served as an engineer for nearly 10 years in the U.S. Army, before pursuing his career in racing. Prior to his time with GMS Racing, he served as a crew chief with a variety of drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East between 2012 and 2016. He also was the crew chief for two events on Maury Gallagher’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team in 2017.
“I am excited to join MHR and to work with Derek Kraus on the 19 team,” Denike said. “Derek is highly talented and we are looking forward to our first race together at Mid-Ohio. Over the next two races we will push hard to make the playoffs. MHR has built a great team with a strong foundation and I am thankful for the opportunity to help continue to advance their program.”
Kraus is currently 11th in the championship standings, just 29 points below the cutoff line for the playoffs. He and his MHR team are working hard to close that gap in the final two regular season events – at Mid-Ohio on July 9 and Pocono Raceway on July 23.
Bill McAnally partnered with Bill and Mona Hilgemann in forming McAnally-Hilgemann Racing at the beginning of 2020. The team formed an alliance at the beginning of this season with GMS Racing and operates out of a 57,000-square-foot shop that is part of the GMS Racing operation in Statesville, North Carolina.