Derek Kraus, the 2019 NASCAR ARCA Menards Series West champion, will compete full-time in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series for a new team co-owned by Bill McAnally and Bill Hilgemann, it was announced Monday.
The new team will be known as McAnally-Hilgemann Racing and carry the No. 19 on its side. It has also formed an alliance with 2018 Truck Series championship team, Hattori Racing Enterprises, the announcement stated.
The new partnership extends the 18-year-old Kraus’s relationship with McAnally, for whose team he drove for the past three seasons in the ARCA Menards Series West (formerly the K&N Pro Series West). During that time, Kraus made 42 starts and earned 10 wins, 28 top five and 33 top 10 finishes.
“We have been working hard to put things in place to move Derek to the next level in NASCAR,” McAnally said in a media release. “It’s been great to be part of his development in the K&N Series these past three years. We look forward to moving ahead in advancing his career.”
Hilgemann is a businessman who hails from the same town as Kraus, Stratford, Wisconsin.
“Bill McAnally has a great reputation in the industry and I’m pleased to put this program together with him,” Hilgemann said in the release. “Derek is a talented young driver and we are excited to have him behind the wheel.”
Kraus has five prior starts in the Truck Series for Bill McAnally Racing, with four races in 2019 and one in 2018. His best finishes were eighth at Phoenix in 2018 and at Dover last season.
Kevin Bellicourt, who served as general manager at BMR last season, will return in a similar role for the newly-formed team this season, as well as add crew chief duties.
“Moving up to the truck series will be a big learning experience for me,” Kraus said. “I am looking forward to continue working with Kevin Bellicourt and the team. It’s going to be a fun year.”