ROSEVILLE, Calif. – Bill McAnally Racing has announced that Derek Kraus will drive the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota next season, as he contends for the championship in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
The 16-year-old Stratford, Wisconsin native claimed Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the series this past season and was part of a BMR lineup that dominated the competition, with Kraus finishing third in points behind outgoing teammates Todd Gilliland and Chris Eggleston.
In addition to running the full 15-race schedule in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, Kraus will also compete in select events in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2018.
“We’re excited to announce that Derek will take the wheel of the No. 16 NAPA Toyota,” said BMR President Bill McAnally. “We were very impressed with his performance this past season and we will work hard to carry that momentum into next year.
“We look forward to seeing Derek continue his development,” added McAnally. “We’re confident he has what it takes to be a NASCAR champion. In addition to his performance on track this year, Derek also did a remarkable job in representing BMR and our partners. He has a great passion for racing and is an outstanding representative.”
The 2018 season will mark BMR’s 28th year of sponsorship by NAPA Auto Parts.
“We take great pride in representing NAPA Auto Parts,” said McAnally. “They are the ones who make the championships possible. We can’t thank everyone at NAPA enough for all they do.”
Kraus takes the seat vacated by Gilliland, who drove the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota to back-to-back championships in 2016 and 2017.
Gilliland, Eggleston and Kraus combined to win 11 of 14 series races this past season, with Kraus getting his first series victory in the season finale.
“I have big shoes to fill in going to the No. 16 NAPA Toyota, where Todd won two championships,” Kraus said. “We want to keep that going and win another championship, and get more wins. I think we can do that with all the great people at BMR.”
Kraus credits the teamwork at BMR for the success.
“This year (everyone’s efforts) showed,” he said. “Everyone worked together really hard in the shop and at the track. I think it’s really neat how everyone at BMR works together.”
Kraus made the transition to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this past season after competing in super late models at multiple tracks in 2016. He continued to race in select super late model events in 2017, doing so during his off weekends from K&N West competition.
CREDIT: Bill McAnally Racing