Kraus Earns First NASCAR K&N Pro West Victory in Season Finale to Secure the Title
Top photo: Derek Kraus beat Will Rodgers for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year title after earning his first series victory at Kern. Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images / NASCAR Media
by Brooke Franceschini, via NASCAR Media
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Derek Kraus had a hard-fought battle to earn the 2017 K&N Pro Series West Sunoco Rookie of the Year title.
While the rookie had a successful rookie season with Bill McAnally Racing amassing one win, nine top-five and ten top-10 finishes, it seemed like fellow rookie Will Rodgers was always right behind him.
“The season went well,” the 16-year-old said. “We had a lot of top five and top three finishes. It was a tight battle with Will throughout the entire season. We had no break. But it helped motivate us and it kept us going throughout the year and we finished on a high note.”
The high-note the Stratford, Wisconsin, native is referring to is his first series career victory at the season finale at California’s Kern County Raceway Park.
“It was great finishing the season that way,” Kraus said. “I learned a lot throughout the season, like what it takes to be competitive, lead laps and ultimately win races. So, to get that victory really got the monkey off our backs.”
Kraus came close to earning his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series West win multiple times throughout the year, but was denied a trip to Victory Lane by Todd Gilliland, the 2017 K&N Pro Series West champion, and Chris Eggleston.
“It was amazing to finally get it done after finishing second or third to our BMR teammates throughout the season. It was the dream way to end my rookie year.
“While I don’t know what my plans are for next season as of now, earning not only my first win but also the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title definitely helps my confidence.”
The newly minted rookie of the year has plenty of people to credit for his success.
“I wouldn’t have accomplished anything close to this without my parents and the entire BMR team,” Kraus said. “I also have to thank Toyota, Carlyle Tools, Marilyn Fanetti and everyone else who has supported me throughout my racing career.”
Derek Kraus 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Season Stats:
Top 5: 9
Top 10: 10
Overall Point Standings: 3rd
In case you missed it:
Tifft Battles Back from One Lap Down At Charlotte To Continue Playoff Run
The Destination: Victory Lane Rookie Spotlight is presented by
TraqGear™ and the TraqGear Store at RaceDayDVL.com.
TraqGear believes clothing worn under driver and crew fire suits should be light, breathable and fire resistant. They bridge the gap between SAFETY and COMFORT, producing the lightest, most breathable, most comfortable SFI Certified base layer solution on the market.
Click the logo below to shop TraqGear merchandise: