Tuesday, October 10, 2017

For Kraus, First Win Appears Just Around the Corner


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West returns to the track for the penultimate race of the season, the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by TriCo Welding Supply on Saturday, October 14, at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.

While he won’t win the series championship, 16-year-old Derek Kraus has his sights set on a couple of career milestones as he enters the final two races of the season. A first trip to Victory Lane tops that list of possible achievements for the Stratford, Wisconsin, driver, and with seven top five finishes in 12 starts this season, it’s clear that Kraus is closing on his first win. He has three runner-up finishes this season — at California’s Kern County Raceway Park, Washington’s Spokane County Raceway and Colorado National Speedway — and has finished in the top five in each of the last two races entering the weekend. Kraus sits third in the overall standings.

Kraus is also locked in a tight Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle with Will Rodgers, sitting five points ahead of Rodgers for the honor.

Rodgers, too, is inching closer to a first career K&N Pro Series West win, despite being a two-time winner in the East series. The 23-year old from Murrieta, California, won both of his starts on road courses in the East this season — at Watkins Glen and New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Rodgers is fourth in the West standings, with eight top fives — including three straight entering Roseville — this year.

Kraus and Rodgers sit third and fourth in the championship standings, respectively, and are separated by just one point headed into Saturday.

Kraus' Bill McAnally Racing teammates are also in a battle. Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston are in a tight fight for the 2017 championship with Gilliland holding an 11-point lead over Eggleston in the standings.

RACE: Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by TriCo Welding Supply
PLACE: All American Speedway, Roseville, California
DATE: Saturday, October 14
TIME: 7 p.m. PT
AIRDATE: Thursday, October 19 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TRACK LAYOUT: .333-mile asphalt oval
2016 WINNER: Ryan Partridge
2016 POLE WINNER: Todd Gilliland
EVENT SCHEDULE: Saturday, October 14 — Garage opens: 10 a.m.; Practice: 12:15-1 p.m.; Final practice: 1:45-2:30 p.m.; Group qualifying: 4:45 p.m.; Driver autograph session: 5:30 p.m.; Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by TriCo Welding Supply: 7 p.m.
TRACK CONTACT: Kevin Green, (707) 301-2053, kgreen@billmcanallyracing.com
TWITTER: @AASpeedway
NASCAR IMC CONTACT: Brooke Franceschini, (386) 631-6142, bfranceschini@nascar.com.
The Race: The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 will be the 13th of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule.

The Procedure: The starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 20 cars will qualify through the group qualifying process with the remaining four spots being awarded through the provisional process. The race is schedule for 150 laps covering 50 miles.

The Track: All American Speedway is a .333-mile paved oval with eight degrees banking in Turns 1 & 2. Turns 3 & 4 have progressive banking, beginning at 10 degrees and graduating to 14 degrees. The track hosted five NASCAR K&N Pro Series West events between 1977 and 1982, when it was a quarter-mile oval and 13 races since it was renovated prior to the 2008 season.

Race Winners: There have been 14 different winners in the 18 previous NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races held at All-American Speedway. Eric Holmes leads all drivers with four career wins at the track, while Paulie Harraka won twice and is the only other driver to win multiple races at All American.

Track Records: Qualifying: Jason Bowles, Ford, 13.589 seconds (88.218 mph), April 4, 2009. 150-lap Race Record: Eric Holmes, Toyota, 44 minutes and 21 seconds (67.576 mph), April 4, 2009.

Championship Battle: With wins in six of the 12 races held thus far in 2017, reigning series champion Todd Gilliland leads Chris Eggleston by 11 points atop the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West standings. Gilliland, who finished second in the final K&N Pro Series East standings this season, has nine top fives and 11 top 10s entering the final two races of the season.

Eggleston has been equally impressive this season, with four wins and series-highs in both top fives (10) and top 10s (12). He is the only driver to finish in the top 10 in every race to date.

American Style: Bill McAnally Racing has found the quick way around All American Speedway.

Since the start of the 2008 season, BMR teams have won five races at the track. Eric Holmes, a three-time K&N Pro Series West champion, has four wins to lead all drivers at the track, all while driving for BMR.

In the last eight races at All American, BMR teams have three wins, three runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes.

Self-less No Longer: When Michael Self won the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 presented by Perfect Hydration and Lights Out at Meridian Speedway two weeks ago, it marked the Park City, Utah, native’s first K&N Pro Series West win since he conquered Missouri’s I-44 Speedway in 2013.

Despite missing the first race of the season, Self sits fifth now in the series standings — just 12 points out of third.

Self has not finished outside the top 10 in any of his 11 starts this year, and he’s not finished worse than seventh since an 8th-place finish at Colorado National Speedway in early June.

Think Pink: The Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by TriCo Welding Supply will also serve as a fundraiser for the Placer Breast Cancer Foundation.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and fans will be encouraged to make donations to the Placer Breast Cancer Foundation. More information about the foundation can be found by visiting their website at www.placerbreastcancerfoundation.org.