Thursday, May 6, 2021

Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Darlington Race Preview

Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Darlington: Race Preview By Nascarvd Nascarvédé 


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Darlington Race Preview


May 7, 2021 “ 200”
(Stages 45/90/147 laps = 200.802 miles)

“How avoiding a sophomore slump? By a win of course!”


This Friday it's the now traditional "Throwback Race" that awaits us in Darlington, South Carolina.


The old Lady in Black has been on the NASCAR schedule continuously since 1950. For the NCWTS this will be the 8th race in series history on this atypical 1,366 mile oval. After a first series of 4 races between 2001 and 2004, the trucks returned to it in 2010 and 2011 before a further hiatus until last year. A race won by Ben Rhodes. Ben who could tie the record of two NCWTS wins co-owned by Kasey Kahne and the late Bobby Hamilton, Sr.


If Ben Rhodes won last year, it was in large part thanks to a small slip by Derek Kraus during the last restart with 2 laps to go. Following an excellent strategy he was in the lead for the last restart. Despite everything, he had managed to keep the 2nd position under the checkered flag. What remains his best career result. Hopefully this year it’s on Victory Lane that we will find the young driver from Stratford, WI.


Since the arrival of Mark Hillman as crew chief, the speed is there, unfortunately the results are not yet. Blame it on incredible bad luck. When it's not a tire puncture, or a drop in engine power, it's sometimes a driving error that is the cause of the sinking ... A driving error? Yes, you read that right. Derek doesn't do a lot of errors. But it was the case in Kansas when he brushed the wall, messing up his Toyota Tundra. But Derek knows how to admit his mistakes without looking for false excuses. And that’s to his credit.


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Darlington Race Preview



Like last year Derek will be wearing the historic colors of his sponsor NAPA Auto Parts. In 2020 it was a tribute to the 1996 championship of Ron Hornaday, Jr. This year it's again a former paint scheme of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. which is honored, that of Michael Waltrip when won the Daytona 500 in 2003. The McAnally-Hilgemann Racing's #19 Toyota Tundra is simply superb. As long as his destiny is also prolific and gets Derek into the 2021 Playoffs, it's ok for me. A win would be a fantastic result. And would help to forget that disappointing first third of the season. Indeed in the first 7 races, the #19 team only obtained one top10 (7th at Daytona RC) and two DNFs. Derek is 17th in the championship. Last year after the first 7 races, he was 11th in the championship with 4 top10s (including one top5). You must absolutely avoid the sophomore slump!


Like all atypical tracks, Darlington suits Derek's riding style well. So let's keep our fingers crossed. Because in the modern world where only profitability and money count, I wouldn't get over a "Raphael Lessard issue" for my favorite Derek!


For those who did not follow, for lack of results and money this year, despite a victory last year, the young Quebecer Raphael Lessard has just lost his ride of the #24 Chevrolet at GMS. A real injustice in my opinion. Certainly the situation was a little different for Raphael who had to scramble to finance each race by finding sponsors. Derek and MHR having multiple sponsors this year. But what about the future? Getting a ticket to the Playoffs would be a real breath of fresh air.


Michael Waltrip was able to benefit from the name of his illustrious big brother Darrell, but also from the love of the fans. His very bankable side allowed him to have a long career before finally winning his first victory after 462 races in the Cup! But what was possible in the 1980s and 1990s is no longer possible. Derek doesn't plan to wait that long to win his first race anyway. That's good because me neither!


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Darlington Race Preview


GO Derek GO !!


Entry list, starting lineup and much more here:


Race live this Friday on FS1 at 7:30 p.m. ET



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