Drive to the Title: Not Clearing Up

T-minus six races until a champion is crowned on Nov. 9 at ISM Raceway. And even with so few races to go, the K&N West Series points aren’t any clearer.

NASCAR’s stars of tomorrow across the nation duked it out in the Casey’s General Store 150 at Iowa Speedway in an east series vs west series combination event. The one thing the two groups had in common is Derek Kraus’ domination, leading both points series.

The 17-year-old is the only driver pursuing history, fighting for a championship in both points series, running every race on both sides of the nation. As the only driver doing so, Kraus had the most to lose going into the combination race, and he certainly lost.

On lap 33, Kraus was involved in an incident and spun out, sustaining damage. East series competitor, Sam Mayer would not only dominate the race, but also overtake the east points lead from Kraus.

Even though the weekend was on the way to becoming dismal, his NAPA Auto Parts crew fought back, harder than anyone else on the track, coming back to finish fourth. While Kraus now trails Mayer by six points in the east, he extended his lead in the west.

“I was thinking our night was done,” Kraus told NASCAR.com after the race. “We never gave up, and a lot of that was the crew just to be behind me the whole time and supporting me helped a lot.”

West series championship competitors Hailie Deegan and Jagger Jones both suffered their own misfortune in the race, causing them to both finish outside the top ten. Kraus’ ability to overcome adversity at Iowa doubled his points lead over his teammate, Deegan, keeping him the king of the west.

Kraus showed his perseverance and determination to be crowned champion at Iowa, and now the gladiators look ahead to Saturday night’s NAPA Auto Parts 150 at Evergreen Speedway (WA). Kraus continues to pursue the east series crown as well, racing at Bristol Motor Speedway’s east series points race on Thursday before flying to Washington. Deegan will also race in the last great coliseum for DGR-Crosley.

 

The combination race was a tough weekend for the west competitors. Trevor Huddleston was the only non-east regular to finish in the top ten and six west drivers were at the back of the 20-car field. Kraus and Huddleston were the only west drivers to capitalize on the combination race.

Kraus and Deegan race for Bill McAnally Racing, owning five of the six wins of all west series drivers in 2019. The duo leads the west series points and Kraus will carry NAPA Auto Parts on his hood in the NAPA Auto Parts 150.

Kraus brings momentum to Evergreen Speedway, leading the first 115 laps of last year’s event but finished ninth. Deegan is the only driver in the field this weekend to finish on the lead lap in the 2018 race.

As we enter the final six races of the K&N Pro Series West season, keep it here at Sports360AZ as we draw closer to the championship race at ISM Raceway, with a new Drive to the Title notebook every race weekend! Join the conversation on Twitter with @Sports360AZ, @devonhenry77, and #KNWest.