Derek Kraus opened his 2018 season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West on Thursday night the way he closed out 2017, with a win on the high-banked, half-mile track at Kern County Raceway Park near Bakersfield, California.
Kraus took the lead from his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Cole Rouse on lap 159 and led the way in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to win the Bakersfield 175 presented by NAPA AUTO PARTS by a margin of 1.154 seconds.
Rouse took third; while a third BMR driver, Hailie Deegan, finished seventh in her series debut.
Kraus and Rouse went three-wide just after a restart to get past Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick, who had paced the field through the first 132 laps. Rouse pulled away in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry, but later got caught up with a lapped car and lost the lead to Kraus.
“I thought 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.”
Start / Finish: 6 / 1
Points Earned: 47
Points Standing / Total: 1 / 47
Next Race: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, April 14
How to Watch or Listen: NBCSN
Bill McAnally Racing (BMR) holds the ARCA Menards Series West record with 11 championships and eclipsed the 100-win mark in 2022. The team has piled on six titles in the last eight seasons with four different drivers since 2015. Second-year driver Tanner Reif takes control of the No. 16 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet for the 12-race campaign in 2023 and looks to improve on his runner-up finish in the 2022 drivers’ standings to build on BMR’s west coast legacy.