For Hub City Times
BAKERSFIELD, CA – Derek Kraus opened his 2018 season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West on March 15 the way he closed out 2017, with a win on the high-banked, half-mile track at Kern County Raceway Park.
His BMR teammate Cole Rouse came away with a third-place finish; while a third BMR driver, Hailie Deegan, finished seventh in her series debut.
Kraus and Rouse went three-wide to get past Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick, who had paced the field through the first 132 laps as he returned to his hometown to compete in the event. Rouse pulled away, but got caught up with a lapped car and lost the lead to Kraus on Lap 159.
“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.”
Kraus, last year’s series Rookie of the Year, talked about the experience of racing against a NASCAR Cup Series driver.
“It was really good to race against him,” said Kraus, who started the event from 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.”
The Bakersfield 175, the first event on a 15-race schedule this year, is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on March 20.