McAnally-Hilgemann Racing drivers Colby Howard and Derek Kraus turned in a stellar performance in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Friday – leading the laps and battling for victory.
However, MHR’s chances of victory were slimmed down when both drivers were caught up in a 17-truck crash as the leading pack came up to the white flag.
The #19 Shockwave Chevrolet Silverado RST driven by Kraus and the #91 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST driven by Howard both sustained significant damage and were unable to continue. Kraus finished the race in 26th and Howard finished in 30th.
It was a disappointing end to an exciting event for MHR as both drivers started their season strong and showed they will be in contention this season.
Kraus charged from 30th as the green flag dropped to gain 10 positions in the opening laps, while Howard steadily moved up from 18th on the grid. They finished the first leg of the race nose to tail, with Howard in 13th and Kraus in 14th. Kraus jumped to sixth for the restart, his crew opting for fuel only during the pit stop. Howard started 13th after fitting left side tyres. A strong race on the second leg saw Kraus leading a lap and finishing eighth in that segment and Howard finishing 13th.
Howard’s team opted for fuel and tires on the right side, which put him ahead for the restart, with Kraus taking four tires and starting fifth. Howard battled for the lead – pacing the pack for nine laps. Kraus was right behind in fourth. As positions among the leaders were shuffled, the pair ended up racing neck and neck – with Kraus in third and Howard in fourth, until a warning flew on lap 63. The leaders continued to shuffle positions after the restart, the intensity increasing as the laps progress. rolled up.
Kraus pulled over for new tires on a warning on lap 86 and fought his way forward. He was seventh, with Howard just behind, when the leaders piled up just before taking the white flag.
This was the third Daytona series start for Kraus. Howard was making his inaugural debut with MHR – as he enters his first full season on the show.
On Thursday morning, Kraus and Howard — along with team co-owner Bill McAnally — accompanied Gates Hydraulics’ Mike Gordon on some sales calls. The MHR team stopped at H1 Auto Care’s NAPA AutoCare store in Ormond Beach and paid a special visit to NAPA AUTO PARTS store owner Chris Wall of The Wall Automotive Group at his main store in Daytona.
Gordon and a special group of guests attended the Camping World Truck Series race. The group included guests from the Wall Group, made up of customers and other NAPA dealers. Guest crew members were also present.
Quote – Derek Kraus
“We had a fast Chevy Silverado. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time until the end.
Quote – Colby Howard
“It’s a roller coaster of emotions. My first time leading competitive laps was amazing. We battled with a loose truck for the last half of the race and had trouble keeping it straight. I’m absolutely disgusted at the finish, but I’m grateful to be in the race.