TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson was twice as nice for the Derek Kraus Saturday night.
The Stratford, Wisconsin, native swept the Port of Tucson Twin 100s for his third and fourth K&N Pro Series victories of the season and first wins on the West coast.
Coming off a win in the second 100-lap championship race last week at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway — giving him two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wins — Kraus and the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota established a goal to win both NASCAR K&N Pro Series West races and take command of the championship standings coming into Arizona.
They did exactly that.
“That was the goal coming into this race,” said Kraus in Victory Lane at Tucson Speedway. “Now we got the points lead going into the next K&N West race. That was really good and we’ll look to stay consistent the rest of the season. We just had to stay patient and it paid off at the end.”
In the first Tucson race, Kraus took the lead from pole sitter Tanner Gray going into Turn 1 and never relinquished the top spot, leading all 100 laps.
Gray, Hailie Deegan, Jagger Jones and Brittney Zamora rounded out the top five finishers in Race No. 1. Matt Levin, Trevor Huddleston, Todd Souza, Dustin Ash and John Wood completed the top 10.
Race No. 2 was a different story for Kraus, who didn’t grab the lead until past the halfway point. But once he did, it was smooth sailing to another victory.
Gray came home second for the second consecutive race, with Zamora finishing a career-best third after leading 26 laps from the pole.
Trevor Huddleston and Matt Levin completed the top five, with Jagger Jones, Dustin Ash, Travis Milburn, Takuma Koga and Bill Kann rounding out the top 10.
Hailie Deegan, who entered the night leading the points, finished 15th after contact with Huddleston going into Turn 2 that spun her around and forced her behind the wall for repairs.
Kody Vanderwal finished 11th and 12th, respectively in the twin 100s, after sweeping the twin races last season at the 0.375-mile track.
Kraus, who leads the K&N Pro East standings by four points, has an 18-point cushion over Sunrise Ford/Bruncati Racing teammates Huddleston and Jones. Deegan fell to fourth, another five points back.
Port of Tucson Twin Race 1 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, May 22 at 4 p.m., with No. 2 scheduled to be broadcast the same day at 7 p.m.
The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place on Saturday, June 8 at Colorado National Speedway.