ROSEBURG, Ore. — Derek Kraus wasn’t going to be denied. Even when a pair of late cautions erased his half-track lead and put a teammate at his door and a pair of championship rivals on his bumper.
Kraus pulled away on a green-white-checkered finish to win Saturday night’s Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts at Douglas County Speedway. It was his second NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win of the season and the third of his career.
More importantly, it moved him within nine points of the championship lead after seven of 14 races.
The 16-year-old from Stratford, Wisconsin, led 133 laps and his No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota crossed the finish line 0.493 seconds ahead of the field. But it wasn’t as easy as the numbers may indicate.
A caution on lap 139 erased a nearly seven-second lead, and a subsequent caution on lap 148 pushed the race into overtime. Each time, it allowed Kraus’ Bill McAnally Racing teammate Hailie Deegan to line up on his outside on the restart. Kraus was able to avoid making a mistake and he emerged in front both times.
Deegan, also 16, settled for second and tied the record for the highest finishing female in series history. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate from Temecula, California, has seven top-tens in all seven starts this season.
The late race restarts also shuffled the final running order, as Kody Vanderwal battled his way to a third-place finish. Ryan Partridge was fourth and his Sunrise Racing teammate for Bob Bruncati, Derek Thorn, settled for fifth. Thorn won the pole earlier in the day and led the first 20 laps.
Partridge kept his one-point lead over Thorn in the championship standings, while Kraus closed the gap he faced by eight points.
Cole Rouse, whose spin brought out the final caution, battled back to finish sixth, followed by Jeff Jefferson, Trevor Huddleston, Matt Levin and Ron Norman.
The Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts will air on NBCSN on Friday, July 6 at 1 pm ET.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to the track for the Casey’s General Store 150 at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 27, in a combination race with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.