Derek Kraus is our guest on Fan4Racing NASCAR & Race Talk, Monday, March 19, 2018, at 8:40 pm ET. Call 929-477-1790 or tweet @Fan4RacingSite with any questions or comments during our LIVE broadcast.
In the last three seasons, Bill McAnally Racing has led the way in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West by taking three championships. Todd Gilliland earned the last two in 2016 and 2017 and it was his teammate Chris Eggleston winning the title in 2015.
The familiar NAPA blue and gold of Bill McAnally Racing in the K&N West is synonymous with the STP blue on the famous No. 43 of Richard Petty in the NASCAR Cup Series. With more than 27 years in the series, BMR has brought home more than 80 victories and eight series’ titles, including the last three seasons.
Now BMR’s Derek Kraus is leading the way with two straight wins in last season’s finale at Kern County Raceway and this season’s opener – also at Kern. Kraus is driving the familiar No. 16 – the same car that Gilliland drove to win the last two series championships.
What’s even more impressive for BMR is that all three of their drivers came home with top-ten finishes for their first race of the 2018 season. Cole Rouse finished third while Hailie Deegan finished seventh in her series debut. That’s not good news for their competitors.
Bringing much attention to the K&N Pro Series West season opener was a Bakersfield, CA native son and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver, Kevin Harvick.
With Harvick in the lead – for the first 132 laps, teammates Kraus and Rouse went three-wide, with Rouse pulling away in his No. 99 BMR car until getting caught up by a slower lapped car and losing the lead to Kraus on lap 159. Before taking the lead Kraus’ No. 16 and Harvick’s No 4. made some short track contact.
“I was three-wide in the middle,” Kraus said of getting by Harvick. “It’s racing. You have to push through it. We ended up here in Victory Lane and that shows how hard our guys work at BMR.”
Last year’s Rookie of the Year – Kraus, spoke about his experience, racing against the NASCAR Cup Series veteran driver.
“It was really good to race against him (Harvick),” said Kraus, who started in the sixth spot. “It’s a big learning curve. I rode behind him and Cole. I learned a lot just from riding behind them. That’s what I think helped me in the later stages of the race. I kind of held back and saved my stuff better than they did.”
Fans can watch the Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA Auto Parts on NBCSN this Tuesday, March 20th at 11 pm ET.
Next up for the K&N Pro Series West schedule is their doubleheader at Tucson Speedway on May 5th.