NASCAR driver set for first Cup Series appearance

Derek Kraus, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Derek Kraus, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Derek Kraus won’t actually compete in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway, but he is set to get a taste of the action on Saturday.

Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger has opted not to take part in practice or qualifying on Saturday afternoon for Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway so that he can compete in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Road America for the team.

Allmendinger still plans to compete in Sunday’s 400-lap Cook Out 400 around the four-turn, 0.75-mile (1.207-kilometer) Richmond, Virginia, meaning that he is set to start from the rear of the field. That said, the No. 16 Chevrolet will still have a driver on Saturday as it readies for Sunday’s main event.

Derek Kraus is set to drive the No. 16 Chevrolet in practice and qualifying on Saturday afternoon, even though whatever starting position he earns won’t be applicable for Allmendinger’s Sunday race appearance.

Derek Kraus, who does quite a bit of simulator work for Kaulig Racing, has never competed in the NASCAR Cup Series.

While Kraus won’t actually get to make his Cup Series debut this weekend, he is still set to get a taste of the action for the first time in his career, driving with the sport’s best drivers in practice and competing against them in qualifying.

After winning the ARCA Menards Series West championship in his third season in the series with Bill McAnally Racing back in 2019, the Stratford, Wisconsin native moved to the Truck Series in 2020. He competed for three seasons with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing but lost his ride after the 2022 season.

In 2023, he has made one Truck Series start for Young’s Motorsports, driving the No. 20 Chevrolet in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

More recently, the 21-year-old made his Xfinity Series debut with Matt Kaulig’s team at Richmond Raceway and finished in 10th place. He added an eighth place finish at Martinsville Speedway and has since competed in two other races at Talladega Superspeedway and Dover Motor Speedway behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet.

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Practice and qualifying for Sunday’s Cook Out 400 are scheduled to get underway on Saturday, July 29 at 12:35 p.m. ET. USA Network is set to provide live coverage. The race itself is set to be broadcast live on USA Network from Richmond Raceway beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 30. Start a free trial of FuboTV today and don’t miss it!