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GOOD & BAD: 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series Season

Another year of NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition is in the books, as the transition now begins towards the new era of combining the NASCAR Home Tracks program with ARCA. Along the way, though, there were some highlights and low lights to consider from the action on-track all year.

Although I was unable to watch all of the races, let’s take a look back at the good and the bad.

GOOD: A little bump and banging, drivers making their way up and down the field, and a bump and run for the win – it sounds like the perfect short track event. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East was able to check each of those boxes when they visited Bristol Motor Speedway. 

BAD: The field size could certainly use some improvement, as highlighted with just 16 entries at Bristol. Hopefully the new format will allow for that to happen. 

GOOD: Thoughout the season, Sam Mayer was a step above the rest en route to winning the championship – and that was certainly on display at Bristol in August. 

After having to go back to the field at the beginning of the race, he methodically made his way forward, making passes as he went to continue gaining ground. He was then able to catch Davis in the closing laps, perfecting the bump and run to get the lead and cruise to the win.

Not only as he proven to be a master at one of NASCAR’s toughest short tracks, his ability behind the wheel has shined at other speedways. He won at Iowa Speedway, and ran strong in a couple NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series starts. As he makes his move up the ladder with GMS Racing and their Driver’s Edge Development program, the potential for him to be quite successful for years to come is there. 

BAD: It was not all sunshine for the driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet as his day was not clean at Bristol. He got put to the back on the first lap due to spinning fellow competitor Chase Cabre right off the drop of the green flag. 

While these two haven’t had the smoothest season racing each other in 2019 with contact throughout, it’s not a good appearance to be causing trouble right away. It also looks worse when you show no remorse about the contact. Mayer would admit he “didn’t mean it at all,” but went on to add that Cabre “kind of deserves it.” 

GOOD: Bristol wasn’t the only track that the young series shined, as South Boston Speedway’s event was arguably even better. A late caution set-up a green-white-checkered finish to the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100 Race 1, and it impressed every fan watching the free stream on FansChoice.tv.

After giving up the lead to Mayer over the course of the long run, Tanner Gray took full advantage of the restart, with a well-timed bump to the back of the No. 21 Chevrolet, followed by some rubbing well alongside on the tight track to take over the lead. He then held on through the final lap for the victory.

It’s always been stated that “racecars have bumpers for a reason,” as well as the classic stories of the “chrome horn.” Gray perfected the move in that moment as he got the position on Mayer, however he didn’t go over the limit by wrecking his competitor. 

BAD: Hailie Deegan may be applauded for her aggressive ability, but she showed the need to learn patience in driving over Colin Garrett in the first 18 laps of the second event at South Boston before it was postponed to Sunday due to weather. Garrett showcased his frustration to his fellow competitor, resulting in shock from the fans in not being able to see a replay of the incident despite FansChoice.tv using that feature for other previous incidents. 

GOOD: Derek Kraus rarely makes mistakes and appeared to be ready to cruise to another victory at Irwindale Speedway, but he would get outside of the groove in turn three – opening the door for one of the most exciting battles in series history.

Both Trevor Huddleston and Tanner Gray would be able to clear Kraus in the process, with Huddleston beginning to stretch out an advantage. However, as the laps begin to count down, Gray was able to close the gap. Gray would get to Huddleton’s bumper with two to go, diving underneath in both ends as he tried to clear him. The battle would go all the way to the checkered flag. 

https://twitter.com/FansChoiceTV/status/1112191647675117568

BAD: Sometimes it’s best to double check that your microphone is off before you make a candid comment.

Hannah Newhouse was pegged to speak with Riley Herbst following his crash for the at-track public address system at Bristol, and FansChoice.tv’s broadcast. She made the comment in which she wasn’t sure what took Herbst out of the race, to which he replied, “The car is killed. Look at the right side of this thing.”

Although improper etiquette to not fully know what happened entering the interview with a comment like that, the discussion point did not come from there. Rather, she left her microphone open following the interview, calling Herbst a “douchebag.”

Although honesty is appreciated from the on-air talent, that certainly is not the best look to have. 

GOOD: Hailie Deegan is currently regarded as one of the best young talents coming up in motorsports. She proved why on Thursday night at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway dirt track, and the fans were entertained in the process.

She would close the gap between herself and Jagger Jones, despite being just over five seconds behind with 26 laps to go.  Jones would find himself in lap traffic, and those cars would not move out of the way as the driver of the No. 6 would’ve hoped, as the bottom was the preferred line all night and where they tell lap cars to stay other places. Perhaps it was a bit of impatience, or maybe not having the knowledge of how to pinch himself underneath them, a he would get hung up on two occasions. The first would allow Deegan to close to within a couple car lengths, the second cost him the victory.

As Jones got hung up with Kenny Bumbera, a small space opened up between the tractor tire and them. Deegan would stick her nose in the hole, pushing Jones out a little (rubbing is racing, right?), and taking the lead. Although Jones tried to retaliate with the chrome horn going into turn three, it was not enough as Deegan kept it straight to the checkered flag.

GOOD: Anybody remember how the NASCAR K&N season started at New Smyrna? Despite starting 16th on the grid, Kraus conserved his tires while slowly making his way to the front, choosing to ride just inside the top-five. 

When the opportunity presented itself with the youthfulness of Garrett and Dollar getting together on a restart with 44 laps to go, Kraus did what he had to do, splitting the middle between the pair to drive by and cruise away en route to victory. Arguably, it was probably one of the best textbook restart passes that you will probably see all season. As he said post-race, “I might’ve gotten in the grass, but I got it done.”

GOOD: Can we also applaud NASCAR for their cost-saving measure in only allowing one single set of General Tires for the event? On top of the money not being spent, it also teaches the drivers about conserving equipment – something we know can come in handy when they move up the ranks. 

GOOD: The choice to stream the events live for free via FansChoice.tv was probably the best decision made. It allotted fans who may only know of the big three series a chance to get a glimpse at the grassroots action, perhaps resulting in them becoming more interested and wanting to attend an event closer to home.

Furthermore, it gave those short track attendees a chance to check out the middle ground of NASCAR. While they may not be too thrilled by the intermediate tracks, this may be the series level that attracts their interest in being closer to what they’re used to.

They always say the hardest part of advertising a product is getting it in front of fans, and doing that this way probably certainly improved the awareness.

BAD: It’s too bad, though, that the option won’t be there in 2020 with NBC Sports Gold taking over broadcasting the series, and now charging so much a month. Certainly those work to put the coverage together deserve something in return for their hard work respectfully, and the amount being charged is not too far out there.

However, making it only available to those in the United States, whereas FansChoice you could view anywhere around the globe, is ignoring a lot of potential race fans. An example would be the Canadian fan base, which makes up 40% of attendees to both Watkins Glen and Michigan. Now you’re taking away something for them view race fan wise, combined with the truck series just being able on one television provider, how does that make them feel included?

In a time where NASCAR recognizes that their numbers were going down with sponsors harder to find, you would think that we’d be wanting to reach as many markets around the world as possible. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Derek Kraus Celebrates Championship as Ty Gibbs Survives Overtime To Win at ISM

AVONDALE, Ariz. — The 2019 K&N Pro Series West season finale showcased the up and coming talent in NASCAR. And when the lights shined the brightest, the young drivers delivered.

Derek Kraus officially clinched the series championship by taking the green flag, and allowed himself to get a little introspective once the title was finalized.

“It’s a dream come true to become a NASCAR champion and it’s all because of you guys,” he said over the radio.

Dream: meet reality.

After failing pre-race inspection and starting in the rear, Kraus fought his way to finish inside the top five for the 11th time this season. Once he made the trip to Victory Lane, the gravity of what he’d just accomplished began to sink in.

“It feels really good,” Kraus said with a smile ear to ear. “We had a really good season this year. If we had a bad night, we were able to capitalize on it and do as much as we could do make the bad night as good as we could.”

“I really can’t thank all these (Bill McAnally Racing) guys enough. They work their tails off on this race car to get it as good as it is every single race. And to finish the year out strong finishing fourth after starting towards the back of the field, it was a really good night and I’m really excited for the following years.”

Kraus’ third full-time season in the series resulted in seven total wins (five West, two East) and an average finish of 4.0, a series best.

Further up front, Sam Mayer controlled the majority of the race, leading 68 laps total. But restarts plagued the 2019 K&N East champion all evening long, as he lost the lead to Ty Gibbs in Turns 1 and 2 with a little over 30 laps remaining

Gibbs, who didn’t give the lead up after taking it on Lap 71, was able to hold off Mayer for two green/white/checkered overtime restarts and win his first career K&N West race and second this season.

“There was a lot going on there,” Gibbs said of the finish to the Arizona Lottery 100. “Those restarts really kind of got me flustered there. I got nervous for a little bit. I could really set (Mayer) up on the restarts. That’s where I could get him the most. We just persevered, started in the back and the car was so good that we got to Victory Lane, it was a cool day.”

The win for Gibbs came under the Levin Racing banner in a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing. The win is the team’s second in the organizations history (Sheldon Creed, Las Vegas 2018).

Corey Heim of Chad Bryant Racing crossed the finish line third. He was credited with a 25th-place finish, however. The No. 22 team, at the request of NASCAR Competition officials, ran an Illmor engine. NASCAR officials and the No. 22 agreed the team would be placed last in the official results regardless of their finish in the running order.

Kraus officially finished third, with his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Hailie Deegan fourth and Scottsdale, Arizona native Jagger Jones rounding out the top five.

Brittney Zamora, Trenton Moriarity, Trevor Huddleston, Todd Souza and Riley Herbst completed the top 10.

With his fifth place effort, Jones earned the runner-up spot in the 2019 standings, three points ahead of Deegan, who finished third. Huddleston and Zamora round out the top five.

The Arizona Lottery 100 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, November 14 at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Touring Awards Banquet will take place on Saturday, November 23 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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Jagger Jones Returns Home for First Race at ISM Raceway

AVONDALE, Arizona — The Arizona Lottery 100 at ISM Raceway was the final stop on the circuit for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, but was also the first race in a NASCAR sanctioned series at his hometown facility for Jagger Jones.

“This is my first time racing here at ISM Raceway and it’s obviously so different from watching in the stands,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED.  “Growing up watching the races here and now being able to race here is super cool. I’m looking forward to it, it’s cool to be the local kid for once because usually I’m traveling all around the west coast – all around the country really for races, so it’s cool to race here in my hometown.”

The Scottsdale, Arizona-Native entered the series finale ranked second in the standings – and this was as high as he could soar, being that all points leader Derek Kraus had to do at the 1.5-mile speedway was start the race to lock up the 2019 Championship.

Jones would go on to put down a sixth-best qualifying lap, putting him on the outside of Drew Dollar to start the 100 Lap event.

“We have a really competitive field here this weekend,” the 17-year old admitted. “We’ve struggled a little bit on the bigger tracks for our series, so I think if we can get up inside the top-five it’ll be a good say for us.”

When the green flag waved atop the unique LED-cactus flag stand, Sam Mayer raced from the lead and did not surrender that position until 12 laps remaining – when race-winner Ty Gibbs passed him after the 16-year old made contact with Ty Majeski on a three-wide restart.

A good majority of the race was a product of single-file long-run racing in which Jones saw himself mainly battling with fan-favorite, Hailie Deegan for the eighth-spot.  After a healthy-dose of cautions in the final 30 laps of the race, Jones didn’t quite salvage that top-five he’d hoped to attain in pre-race, finishing sixth.

The driver of the No. 6 was able to hold on to the second-ranked position in the standings. He finished the year with eight top-fives, 11 top-10s, one pole award, 248 laps led and his first win – which came at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.

It’s safe to say that after what can be deemed an incredibly impressive season that Jones will be one of the young talents who will be in NASCAR for years to come.

“We’re setting up things for next season,” said the Arizona-native. “They’re changing the whole series in 2020, so we’re just trying to put everything together for that. Next year I want to run a lot of races and win as many as I can – those are my main goals for he offseason.”

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

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Derek Kraus Survives Meridian Carnage, Wins In Overtime

MERIDIAN, Idaho — The man to beat all season was the man to beat on Saturday night.

Derek Kraus charged up through the field from seventh to lead 100 laps and earn his fourth K&N Pro Series West victory this season, 12th overall of his career and first at Meridian Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208.

“Finally,” Kraus said with a smile. “It’s been a good year so far and tonight was just another short track race. There was lots of beating and banging, there were lots of yellows for sure. There were a lot of restarts, and I was able to get the lead over Jagger (Jones) about halfway through the race and I was able to keep it. That was really good, I’m really proud of how tonight went and I can’t thank these guys enough.”

Last season, Kraus led 189 of 208 laps from the pole, only to finish third after a late race incident with a lapped car. In three of his four K&N West wins this season, he’s led 100 laps or more.

But Kraus’ main competition was the man who led the most laps (121) on the evening from the pole: Jagger Jones.

With three laps to go in regulation, Kraus opted for the high lane on the restart, allowing Jones to take the bottom. The two made contact in Turns 1 and 2, and Kraus tapped Jones in Turn 3, sending him spinning, causing a massive pileup involving almost half the field.

“I’m sure he’s not very happy with me, but that’s racing,” Kraus said of the incident. “I’ve been on the other end of that and I know how it feels with Colorado. I’m sure he’s mad, and I’m sorry about it, but I guess that’s short track racing.”

Jones, understandably, wasn’t in the mood for apologies.

Following Kraus to the checkered flag was Todd Souza, who cleared the smoke to come home runner-up, his second-best career result. Trevor Huddleston did the same to finish third.

Josh Jackson, making his K&N debut, finished fourth after earning three free passes throughout the race, with Brad Kossow (also making his debut) rounding out the top five.

At the time of the green/white/checkered overtime restart, Josh Fanopoulos was running fourth, the highest he’s ever ran in a K&N Pro Series race. Despite being spun on the frontstretch on said restart, he earned his career best finish in sixth. Travis Milburn, Brittney Zamora, Zach Telford and Keith McGee completed the top 10.

Telford, a 15-year-old from Middleton, Idaho, was running second on the final lap before contact from Souza sent him spinning in Turn 2. He was making his first series start, as well.

The defending winner of the race, Hailie Deegan, got into some trouble of her own on Lap 132. After racing hard with Souza, she and Huddleston got together, giving her Bill McAnally Racing machine heavy nose damage. She ultimately finished 13th, 13 laps down.

Devin Dodson, who started a career-best fourth, finished 17th, 71 laps down after an accident on Lap 153 with Takuma Koga damaged the radiator.

In total, 12 caution flags flew for 70 laps, falling one yellow shy of the track record in 2016.

With the win, Kraus extends his championship points lead from 29 to 40. With his podium run and Deegan’s troubles, Huddleston now sits second in the standings, with Deegan third, Jones fourth and Zamora fifth.

The NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Friday, October 4 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place at All American Speedway in Roseville, California on Saturday, October 12.

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Spencer Davis Earns First Win In Over Three Years With Late Gateway Restart

MADISON, Ill. — For the first time in 1,181 days, Spencer Davis can call himself a winner in the K&N Pro Series again.

One week removed from leading a career-high 137 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Dawsonville, Georgia native took the lead from Sam Mayer on the final green/white/checkered restart into Turn 1 and never looked back in the Monaco Cocktails 125, claiming his first victory since May 30, 2016 at Dominion Raceway.

The ultimate winning move was set up by a caution for Josh Fanopoulos blowing an engine off Turn 4. When Davis realized he’d get another shot at the win, he thanked his lucky stars.

“I saw that car blowing up and I’m like ‘someone’s shining down on us trying to get us that win.’,” Davis said following his Worldwide Technology Raceway win. “And when we lined up, I just zoned out, didn’t listen to the spotter or nothing. Like I said in Victory Lane, tried to channel my inner Dale (Earnhardt).”

And that’s exactly what he did.

“Tried to intimidate (Mayer) a little bit coming to the line,” he said. “The only way you can beat him–the only way I think you can beat this car this year is to make the kid make a mistake. Being a veteran of this series, I feel like I’m exceptional at restarts […] you couldn’t have asked for a better performance right there.”

“I hit my gears better than him and got into (Turn) 1 better,” Davis said. “I know he didn’t give it to me, but it felt like it because I drove that thing in there until I saw Jesus, man. It stuck, and I came out the other end leading.”

Derek Kraus earned his second consecutive runner-up finish, with David Gilliland, Mayer and Parker Retzlaff, making his second career series start, rounding out the top five.

Ruben Garcia Jr., Jagger Jones, Colin Garrett, Hailie Deegan and Todd Souza completed the top 10.

Deegan ran inside the top five for most of the night before spinning after contact with Kraus, which subsequently cut her tire and forced her to spin out.

After leading the first 60+ lap from the pole, Chase Cabre was relegated to a 13th-place finish, seven laps down, after he encountered electrical issues during the halfway break.

On Lap 1, Max McLaughlin, Garcia Jr. and Tanner Gray were involved in an accident in Turn 3. The crash ended McLaughlin’s day and gave the other two drivers damage. Gray wound up slamming the wall with a flat tire and finished the race 52 laps down.

Trevor Huddleston and Brittney Zamora both lost engines during the first half of the race and finished 18th and 19th, respectively.

With his fourth-place result and Cabre’s misfortune, Mayer extends his K&N East championship lead over the Rev Racing driver to 30 points with two races remaining.

With his second-place result, Kraus extends his K&N West championship lead over his teammate, Deegan, to 29 points with four races remaining.

K&N East Standings | K&N West Standings

The Monaco Cocktails 125 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, August 29 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series East event will take place at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, September 21. The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place at Meridian Speedway on Saturday, September 28.

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Trevor Huddleston Dominates Evergreen For Second Career Victory

MONROE, Wash. — Nobody had anything for Trevor Huddleston.

The Agoura Hills, California native cruised to his second K&N Pro Series West win of this season and his career at Evergreen Speedway in the NAPA Auto Parts 150 on Saturday night, leading the most laps (85) en route to the victory.

“The car unloaded pretty quick, the guys at the shop were on top of it, and the guys at the track were on top of it even more because we just kept making the thing better and it showed out there,” Huddleston said.

The win is also Sunrise Ford’s second of the season. Thus far, only two events in the series (Sonoma, JPR and Iowa, GMS) have been won by teams other than Bill McAnally Racing (5) and Sunrise (2).

Derek Kraus led 20 laps, but struggled with a tight condition and wound up coming home second, his sixth top five and first runner-up finish this season. His BMR teammate and polesitter Brittney Zamora led 45 laps from the pole and wound up third, tying her career-best finish.

Monroe native, 2017 track and Washington state champion Trenton Moriarity, making his K&N Pro Series debut for newly formed JP Racing, finished fourth, with Jagger Jones rounding out the top five.

Todd Souza, Hailie Deegan, Devin Dodson, Jack Wood and Travis Milburn completed the top 10.

With his second-place effort, Kraus extends his championship points lead to 18 over Huddleston, who jumped Deegan and now sits second.

The NAPA Auto Parts 150 presented by ENEOS is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, August 22 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place next weekend at Worldwide Technology Raceway at Gateway, the second of two combination events with the K&N Pro Series East.

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Grassroots Racing Returns to ISM Raceway in 2020

Earlier this year, it was announced that NASCAR’s championship weekend would move from the sandy beaches of Homestead-Miami Speedway to the valley of the sun at ISM Raceway. The desert jewel continues making waves with track president Julie Giese revealing that grassroots racing would be making a return to Avondale, Arizona – and in a big way.

The ARCA Menards Series will be making its inaugural debut at Zoomtown U.S.A on March 6, 2020. For those unfamiliar with this series, it’s essentially the final stage of racing for developmental drivers spanning from the East and the West hoping to compete in one of NASCAR’s three premier series.

The currently unsponsored ARCA race is scheduled to kick off the Spring race weekend, along with the Gatorade Pole Day for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series FanShield500. Following Pole Day, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will make its return to the one-mile tri-oval on March 7, with the Cup Series on March 8.

In what could be deemed the most exciting news from Giese’s statement, it was announced that ISM Raceway would be host to four of NASCAR’s championship series. The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series champion will be crowned at the conclusion of the Lucas Oil 150 on November 6, 2020. Saturday will now feature a championship double header with the Xfinity Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. Finally, the Cup Series will see a new champion, basking in the glory of the Arizona sun on November 8.

“I’m extremely pleased to add these grassroots races to our historic 2020 race season at ISM Raceway,” Giese said. “We are committed to delivering to our ticket holders as much-on track action as possible during our race weekends and these races provide a great opportunity to showcase so many up-and-coming drivers in our sport.”

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

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Sam Mayer Dominates Iowa, Earns Second Career K&N Victory

NEWTON, Iowa. — The kid just keeps on impressing.

Sam Mayer earned his second victory of the 2019 season on Friday night at Iowa Speedway, leading all but eight laps from the pole en route to the victory.

“The race before the first break especially was just trying to keep the tires on the car,” he said. “I was really just trying to hit my marks the whole time. The car was rolling and I was starting to get a little bit free, but making those adjustments at Lap 100 really helped the car stay under me and helped me all the way through until the end.”

The win was also the second for GMS Racing (first coming at Bristol) who made their first full-time foray into the K&N Pro Series this year. In both events, the No. 21 car was in its own zip code.

Being a combination event, Mayer was able to earn more points than a typical K&N East event due to the higher car count. With the win, the 16-year-old Franklin, Wisconsin native now leads the East standings by six markers for the first time since May 4 (first South Boston Twin 100).

One of his main competitors for the title, Derek Kraus, encountered what could have been a monumental issue in the first 50-lap stretch. After contact from Max McLaughlin, Kraus was sent spinning in Turn 4, sustaining rear damage.

 

After starting in the rear (failed post-qualifying inspection), Ty Gibbs finished second for the third straight race. Ruben Garcia Jr. earned his best finish of the season in third, with Kraus and New Hampshire winner Chase Cabre rounding out the top five finishers.

Tanner Gray, Drew Dollar, Trevor Huddleston, Spencer Davis and Max McLaughlin completed the top 10. Jagger Jones finished 11th after late race contact from Huddleston and Hailie Deegan finished 12th after being penalized for an uncontrolled tire with under 20 laps remaining.

In the battle of the coasts, the East won. Handily. K&N East regulars (including Kraus) took nine of the top 10 spots when the checkered flag flew.

The Casey’s General Store 150 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Wednesday, July 31 at 7 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series East event will take place next weekend on Friday, August 2 at Watkins Glen International, with the next West race taking place at Evergreen Speedway on Saturday, August 17.

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Derek Kraus Dominates Again At Douglas County

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Douglas County, Derek Kraus and dominance. For the second year in a row, the three converged.

After leading 133 laps an route to the win last season, Kraus led flag-to-flag this go around to claim his third K&N West victory of the season and fifth overall in 2019.

“It helps a lot when BMR brings me a great car like they did,” Kraus said. “They prepared me a great car here. We had to push Sonoma behind us from what happened there. Overall, we came to Roseburg knowing that we won last year, kept up the momentum and won this year. They brought me a really great car and I can’t thank them enough.”

The win continues Bill McAnally Racing’s dominance at the 0.375-mile Oregon oval. A BMR car has entered Victory Lane in eight of the last nine trips to Roseburg. Clearly, Kraus, BMR and DCS have a good thing going.

“They know what they’re doing when we come here to Roseburg,” he said. “I’m just fortunate enough to be able to be driving the race car.”

Jagger Jones came home second, 3.158 seconds behind Kraus, tying his career best finish. Hailie Deegan, Kraus’ BMR teammate, finished third. Trevor Huddleston and Brittney Zamora rounded out the top five finishers, putting all three BMR cars inside the top five.

Travis Milburn and Todd Souza finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Kody Vanderwal, John Wood and Takuma Koga completed the top 10.

Vanderwal, who ran as high as second but sustained hood damage when James Cooley slammed on the brakes in Turn 2 as the the caution was out, took the checkered flag in seventh but was rather disappointed in his run.

With the win, Kraus’ championship points lead grew by seven points and now leads Deegan by eight markers at the halfway point of the season.

The Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota 150 presented by ENEOS is scheduled to air on Thursday, July 4 at 6 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place on Friday, July 26 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, the first of two combination events in the K&N Pro Series.

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Noah Gragson Wins At Sonoma In Chaotic Overtime Finish

SONOMA, Calif. — The black flag taketh away; the black flag giveth.

In a race where Noah Gragson thought his chance for a win disappeared with a penalty for jumping a restart, the 20-year-old from Las Vegas wound up in Victory Lane after Ryan Preece’s apparent win disappeared under similar circumstances.

In the end, it was Gragson celebrating the win in Sunday’s Procore 200 at Sonoma Raceway.

“Helluva race,” Gragson said. “Kind of had a little bit of … adversity there in the middle of the race. Got called for jumping the start as the leader. Never really heard that one before, but we battled back through adversity and ended up the winner.”

Preece was extremely frustrated with how his afternoon concluded after leading over 20 laps to the finish.

“What are you gonna do?” Preece said. “It’s their sandbox, they’re gonna do what they want. They manipulated the race at the end of the day and we won that race. Jumping a restart is going two car lengths early; it’s part of it. You might as well hold my hands behind my back and tie them up if you’re going to make me go at the same line every single time.”

Gragson started second and took the lead from pole-sitter Hailie Deegan on the initial start. He didn’t relinquish the top spot until he encountered the aforementioned adversity: a restart violation of his own.

Gragson was slicing and dicing his way through the field from that point on, putting his No. 7 Switch Chevrolet in places it appeared wouldn’t warrant a pass.

But Gragson kept clawing back. After a few cautions bunched the field back up, he found himself in position to pounce. And although he was behind Preece when the final caution flew on the white flag lap, he was scored the winner. The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular collected his fifth K&N Pro Series West career win and and seventh overall in K&N.

Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon, Cole Custer and David Mayhew rounded out the top five finishers with defending race winner Will Rodgers, Jim Inglebright, Deegan, Dave Smith and Paul Pedroncelli Jr. completing the top 10. With the penalty, Preece was scored 20th, the last car on the lead lap.

erek Kraus, the championship points leader coming into Sonoma, encountered engine issues around the halfway point and was on pit road for multiple laps as his team repaired the issue on the No. 16. After getting the free pass twice and making up three laps, he was in position for a top 19 finish, but crossed the finish line in 19th after being spun out on the final lap.

Kraus saw his championship lead cut to one over teammate Deegan, while Trevor Huddleston is 11 back and Huddleston’s rookie teammate Jagger Jones is now only 13 behind Kraus.

The Procore 200 will be broadcast Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place on Saturday, June 29 at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon.