by Performance Marketing Group / STRATFORD, WI (Sept. 6, 2016) – Derek Kraus made the most of his Labor Day weekend, capturing a win and two runner-up finishes in Wisconsin late model competition. The 15-year old’s win came with the prestigious ARCA Midwest Tour at Dells Raceway Park on Saturday night and beat a 25-year record held by former NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Matt Kenseth.
Kraus’ weekend started off with a solid night on Thursday at State Park Speedway in Wausau, Wisc., where he qualified with fast time and started seventh due to an invert. By halfway, he had fought his way back to the point, but a gradually worsening tight condition allowed one competitor to bypass Kraus for the top spot in the second half of the event, relegating him to second at the end of the night.
“After sitting through the first day of school, it felt good to jump into the seat of the racecar and qualify the quickest on my birthday,” said Kraus after the race. “I knew going in to the night the points were tight, but I wanted to finish the season on a good note for my team since they have worked so hard this year and I appreciate all the time they have given to me. Congratulations to Dalton Zehr and his team for winning the State Park track championship.”
Two days later, Kraus and the No. 9 team made the trip to Dells Raceway Park for the ARCA Midwest Tour Bill Meiller Memorial. Unlike the previous event, he clocked in 13th in qualifying, but started on the pole after an invert and also won his heat race. Kraus led every lap of the 101-lap contest, becoming the youngest driver in history to win an ARCA Midwest Tour event, beating the record previously held by Kenseth at 16 years old. Notably, prior to Kenseth, the record was held by NASCAR Hall of Fame Member Mark Martin.
“I knew I had to have great restarts because of the talent behind me,” said Kraus after the race. “Staying focused and hitting my marks was key, and my dad, Mark, was spotting and helping me to do that. It’s just an honor to set the age record and do it in a race that was a memorial to such a hard worker on this Labor Day Weekend. The fire helmet that is part of the trophy is really special and something I’ll appreciate as well.”
After Saturday’s historic events, Kraus was ready to race again, this time at Golden Sands Speedway in the fifth round of the Tundra Series. Kraus timed in ninth-fastest but started fifth after the qualifying events ran their course. Much like the other two nights, Kraus had a car capable of winning the event, but was unable to find a way around Mark Mackesy late in the race. Forced to settle for second, it was Kraus’ third top-two finish in three events.
“I could have probably moved Mark Mackesy for the lead but I didn’t want to race him that way,” said Kraus in his post-race comments. “He has always raced us clean and I wanted to return the favor.”
“What a great way to end the weekend,” he continued, summarizing his Labor Day weekend. “Each finish had a little different meaning, but it’s so great to be able to run close to home, and have success with the ARCA Midwest and the Tundra Series. We can’t always run every Tundra race due to other obligations, but when we do the drivers are respectful of me and my team and we really appreciate that, and the same goes for the ARCA Midwest Tour. My team gave me a car that was top notch all weekend and I’m just glad I could come through for them with three solid runs.”
Kraus and the No. 9 team will be in action again this weekend as part of a triple-header at Marshfield Motor Speedway with the Yellow River Racing Series. Kraus is three points out of the championship lead heading into the final night of competition on Saturday, September 10.
For more information on Derek Kraus, visit his website at DerekKrausRacing.com. The latest updates can also be found on his Facebook page at Facebook.com/DerekKrausRacing.