Since opening in 1990, “The Magic Mile” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway has garnered a reputation as being a difficult track to master. The Wisconsin/California combination of 17-year-old Derek Kraus and long-time owner Bill McAnally Racing squashed that perception Friday evening.
Kraus laid down solid laps over the two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East practice sessions before ending the day by putting the No. 16 NAPA Toyota on the pole for Saturday’s United Site Services 70.
Though bigger than any weekend short track, the Loudon, NH oval did evoke a race track that Kraus has made numerous laps around back home in the Badger State.
“It’s a really great track, New Hampshire is really fun,” Kraus told Speed51.com. “I feel it’s like one of the local tracks I race back home (Marshfield Motor Speedway). I feel like a lot of that carried over to New Hampshire with how much you got to let it wait in the corners, then get on the gas. It’s a fun track, a nice big mile.”
Following his qualifying run, the 2017 NASCAR K&N West Rookie of the Year felt that he didn’t leave anything on the table on his way to edging Tyler Ankrum by 0.046 seconds for the pole.
Despite Loudon being a track that usually dazzles many first-time drivers with its speed, it made little difference for Kraus.
“You can’t really feel the speed here in the race car; it feels like you’re just going on the highway,” Kraus explained. “But you can feel when you enter the corner if you get loose, there’s a lot of speed that you carry through the corners. It’s a fun, fast race track.”
Currently, Kraus is embroiled in a tight three-way title fight with Ryan Partridge and Derek Thorn for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship. With just a part-time schedule in K&N East, this weekend’s trip to the Granite State is a chance for Kraus and the whole of BMR to cut loose and go for the big trophy.
“There’s one goal and that goal is to win. We’re going to give it all we got tomorrow and hopefully we’ll end up in victory lane.”
Kraus and Ankrum will make up the front row for Saturday’s feature race, with Harrison Burton, Anthony Alfredo and Brandon McReynolds rounding out the top five in qualifying.
For the full results from Friday’s qualifying, visit Speed51.com’s Trackside Now coverage. (Click here)
Saturday’s United Site Services 70 is scheduled to see the green flag at approximately 6:45 p.m. ET.
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51.com