The duo was set to compete against each other in an ARCA Midwest Tour race at State Park Speedway in 2019, but the race was postponed to July due to rain and neither of them were able to make it to the race. Two years later, they will finally get the chance to do so at the Milwaukee Mile on Father’s Day.
“That will be something really cool for sure. I feel like this weekend will be a little bit more special because it is Father’s Day weekend,” Derek Kraus told Speed51. “It’ll be cool to go to Milwaukee and race there for the first time.”
The younger Kraus will be joining a new team for the event, joining Todd Nagel and the IncredibleBank team driving the No. 21. They have already tested together to get ready for Sunday’s race, and it has left him excited for what’s to come.
“That is Todd Nagel, he’s the owner of the car and he gave me the opportunity to drive it. They call it “Mean Gene” because that’s his dad’s nickname. We went and tested it and it was pretty good, hopefully it will carry over to Milwaukee and we’ll have a good run.”
While Derek will be with IncredibleBank, father Mark will pilot the car normally driven by his son in Sunday’s race. After missing out on the opportunity to race with him two years ago, he is looking forward to finally get that chance Sunday afternoon.
“We were supposed to a couple years ago but it got rained out. We were just talking about it, my sister said something to me about it and I said, ‘Oh yeah, that would be a good idea, let’s do it.’ That’s how it all started. I like Milwaukee, there’s a lot of room there so I figured why not do it there.” – Mark Kraus
While this will be the elder Kraus’s first race since the 2015 Snowball Derby, he will be making his return to a track he is familiar with. He has six previous starts at the Mile, with his best finish being a fourth with what’s now the ARCA Midwest Tour in 2009.
“Milwaukee’s way bigger, the corners are flat. I like flat racetracks. It’s a prestigious race to race at, it’s been around forever. I’ve raced there four or five times, Derek’s never raced there. This will be his first time racing there. He’s watched me race there when I was younger but that was it.”
While Mark has previous experience at Milwaukee, this will be Derek’s first start at the Mile. With his father’s most recent Milwaukee start coming in 2014, he is unsure what all he can pick up from him with how Super Late Models have changed, but he will lean on him as much as possible.
“He’s been there in a car before and that will help a lot, but I feel like it will be a lot different than when he was there just because of all the new technology in the Late Models,” stated Derek. “I’ll be able to lean on him a little bit with the line and stuff, but hopefully I can go a little faster than him, right?”
The two have different goals going into Sunday’s race in terms of performance. With that, both drivers look to relish in the opportunity to share the track together for the first time.
“I’m sure there’s going to be some really good cars there, so we’ll want to be able to run up front and learn throughout the whole day Saturday,” Derek said. “Then on Sunday, we can qualify good and have a good race, maybe get up front and lead some laps. At the end of the day I hope we end up in victory lane, but I’d be happy with a top-five.”
“Just to try and qualify decent and be competitive and complete every lap,” said Mark. “The overall thing is to have fun.”
Sunday’s ARCA Midwest Tour race at the Milwaukee Mile will be broadcasted live on Speed51.TV. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3