By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
MERIDIAN, Idaho – The fastest man of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West tour continues to be Bill McAnally Racing’s Derek Kraus, who scored his fifth pole Saturday at Meridian Speedway, setting a blistering time of 12.243 seconds.
Not only he accomplished this feat, but it’ll be his fourth straight KNPSW front row start as he’ll look to gain ground on points leader Derek Thorn, who will start fifth in the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208.
Kraus told Motorsports Tribune that running 208 laps on the track known as the ‘Concrete Jungle,’ tire wear will be the key to his bid of scoring win No. 4 this season.
“It’s definitely a longer race with 208 laps, so we’ll have to save our tires a little bit. Fuel shouldn’t be a concern,” said Kraus. “BMR brought me a really good car, so hopefully we’ll keep it up front the whole race.”
Kraus trails Thorn by 42 points and sits fourth in the championship standings after a dismal 17th place retirement at the dirt race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Sept. 13.
The Stratford, Wisconsin native hopes lapped traffic won’t be an issue and that cautions are minimal as two of the last three runnings had 10+ cautions.
“Lapped cars are really going to be tough just because of how small the track is,” said Kraus. “Hopefully, they’ll do their part and get out of the way for us. It should be a good race. Hopefully it’s green for a lot of it and have a clean race.”
Starting alongside Kraus is another championship contender, Thorn’s teammate Ryan Partridge, who is 31 behind the 2013 series champion, needing a key win to put himself back into the title mix with three races remaining.
Cole Rouse bounced back from a horrific wall ride at Turn 3 during opening practice to qualify third in his backup car. Rouse is still searching for his first career win and currently sits third in points.
Alongside Rouse is 17-year-old star Hailie Deegan, who set the pace in final practice, but will have to get her three competitors and make NASCAR history.
Green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:30 p.m. MST and the 208-lap feature will air on NBCSN Oct. 5.