Kraus wins East-West Combo
For Hub City Times
MADISON– Derek Kraus scored the biggest victory of his young career with a win over his Bill McNally Racing teammate, Cole Rouse, as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series made its inaugural visit to Gateway Motorsports Park Aug. 24 for an East-West combination race.
It marked the third win of the year and fourth of his career for the 16-year-old Stratford driver who wheels the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry.
Kraus won by a margin of 5.374 seconds over Rouse in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, as they battled to take home the hardware in the Monaco Cocktails Gateway Classic presented by the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.
After starting second on the grid and contending for the lead, Kraus began to fade after a spark plug wire came off in the first segment of the race. His NAPA team resolved the issue during a caution for the first of two breaks and he mounted a charge in which he climbed from 18th to third in less than 20 laps.
“Our NAPA Toyota was really strong,” Kraus said. “With the struggle because of the spark plug wire, we had to come from 18th to the lead. It was really great.
“It was a big win, with it being an East-West combo event and the first race at Gateway. That gives us bragging rights.”
Wet weather limited practice on Friday and led to qualifying being cancelled, with the field set by practice times.
With his win, Kraus vaulted past Rouse to third in the championship standings – 29 points out of first. The NASCAR Next driver has a record of three wins, four poles, six top fives, and eight top 10s in 10 starts this season.
The East-West event from Gateway is slated to be televised on NBCSN on Aug. 30.
The next event on the K&N Pro Series West schedule will be the Star Nursery 100 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on Sept. 13.