Thursday, July 8, 2021

Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Knoxville:Race Preview

Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Knoxville:Race PreviewJuly 9, 2021 “Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers” (Stages 40/90/150 laps = 75 miles) 

By Nascarvd Nascarvédé
« We're going to eat dirt!»

There are only two races left before the Playoffs and they will be two atypical races! First the one that interests us this time, Knoxville, IA on dirt and then one month later (August 7) the road track of Watkins Glen, NY.


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Knoxville:Race Preview

This Friday, July 9th will be the 4th new track of the 2021 season. This time it's off to Iowa and the dirt half mile of the Knoxville Raceway, located in the city of the same name. A track whose banking is only 8 ° in the turns and whose origins date back to 1878! Originally it was a horse racing facility. Today the horses that run there are in the engines!


I'm not going to write the history of this legendary track in the world of Sprint Cars myself, especially with the race called "Knoxville Nationals" which will be the 60th edition on July 10th. I'll leave that to Special Agent Z! You all know her as "NASCAR Race Mom". Usually she is the one who posts my articles on her website. I put the link to read her article presenting the Knoxville Raceway here:


Go read it, it's very interesting.


I’m going to focus on… Derek Kraus … As usual you will tell me!


Derek who just finished 2nd this July 6th of the Slinger Nationals SLM race, on the Slinger, WI short track. So he's going to arrive in Knoxville with a bloated mind! Ready for battle on dirt this time around. I had mentioned it during the Bristol dirt race at the start of the season. Dirt racing is hardly Derek’s specialty, even though he started out in Gokart on this surface, as he quickly turned to championships on paved track. But thanks to the return to 2018 of dirt racing in Las Vegas in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, he has replayed and with some success. He won his qualifying races there in 2018 and 2019 before always running for victory in the main event. Unfortunately his end of both races were marred by bad luck. At Bristol this year in NCWTS he had a difficult race, collateral victim of an accident for which he was absolutely not responsible.



If all goes well with the weather, unlike what we experienced in Bristol in March, the race will be preceded by a practice (Thursday, July 8 ) and the day after by qualifying races of 15 laps which will determine the starting grid. No worries, Derek qualifies for the race no matter what, thanks to the owner points of his McAnally-Hilgemann Racing team.


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Knoxville:Race Preview

But it will be important to have a successful qualifying race to gain a good position at the start of the main race. This will be determined by: 

  1. Random draw determines heat race designation and starting position for the heat race. The draw will be in order of current owner points. 
  2. Qualifying Heat Races – Four qualifying races held at 15 laps each with only green flag laps counted – no overtime rule. Free pass and wave around procedures will be in effect. 
  3. Passing Points* – Drivers will accumulate points in the heat races based on finishing position and passing points. The points total determines the starting position for the feature event. 
    1. * Passing Points = The difference between assigned starting position and finishing position - Go forward – accumulate passing points - Go backward or finish where you started – zero passing points - 
    2. Tiebreaker – Owner Points Finish and points (1st = 10 points ; 2nd = 9 points and so on until the 10th = 1 point)


Once again, NASCAR is making complicated rules for us when it could have been simple! LOL


Derek Kraus: 2021 NCWTS at Knoxville:Race Preview

But the competition will be tough with many dirt racing specialists joining the formidable rivals of the regular championship. Still, we would like to welcome Donny Schatz, Brian Brown, Jake Griffin, Morgan Alexander, Andrew Gordon, Jessica Friesen and Parker Price-Miller. There will also be Cup driver Chase Briscoe. In total there will be 40 of them raising dust while driving at full speed!


Note: the VD logo will be in front of the rear wheels.

As you know, I'm a huge fan of Derek. And the friendship created with the members of his family keeps that passion alive day after day. I have had the opportunity on several occasions to put my logo on a Derek's car. 

Whether in SLM or in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. With even the immense chance to see Derek winning the Kern race in 2019, en route to his championship crown. This time it will be on the Toyota Tundra #19 NAPA Power Premium Plus that the VD logo will be affixed. And I hope to bring him luck like in Kern! It’s a great source of pride for me. 

And what better than being able to do it on a truck driven by Derek, truck owned by a person that I have admired a lot for the past thirty years for everything he does for car racing, I named Bill McAnally .


Then more than ever I will have all my fingers crossed!  Note: the VD logo will be in front of the rear wheels.


As I have already done in recent weeks, I will introduce you to a member of the MHR #19 team. After crew chief Mark Hillman and truck chief Tim Andrews, I decided to tell you about a member whose role is essential especially in brawls within the peloton. These are the eyes of the driver. I named the spotter. His role is to alert the driver to everything that is happening around his car but also elsewhere on the track to anticipate all risks (an accident, oil in a turn, raindrops, debris,..). His role is so important that if radio communication is interrupted between him and the driver, NASCAR will inflict a black flag on the duo and an obligation to leave the track until the problem is resolved. Safety first.

Spotter:  Jeff Gotelaer
Jeff Gotelaer

I was going to do my story on Freddie Kraft, Derek's usual spotter, but Freddie won't be in Knoxville. Because Freddie, in addition to being Derek's spotter in NCWTS, is also the spotter for Bubba Wallace at 23XI Racing in the Cup Series and Jeb Burton at Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series. And this weekend, these two series are rolling in Atlanta, GA. MHR therefore called on another spotter for this race, Jeff Gotelaer. But who is Jeff? Originally from Ridgetown, Ontario, this Canadian is no new to racing. He even has an impressive resume. It operates in many series over the past 20 years. Want some examples? In the Pinty’s Series in 2011 with Pierre Bourque then since 2012 with Ed Hakonson Racing for which he won 14 victories and the 2020 championship title with Jason Hathaway. But he's also done the Indy 500 this year with driver James Hinchcliff for Andretti Autosport and is the voice in Michael Myers’s helmet in USF2000. He also won the new Smyrna race in ARCA Menards East this year with Max Gutierrez for Rette-Jones Racing. It's reassuring to know that Derek will be guided by a cador.


That's it for today, I'll try to introduce you to another MHR #19 team member soon.


GO Derek GO !!


Entry list, starting lineup and much more here:


Race live this Friday on FS1 at 9:00 p.m. ET 


By Nascarvd Nascarvédé


source: By Nascarvd Nascarvédé

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