Derek Kraus
Jonathan Ferrey | Getty Images

Top three in K&N West still working out 2020 plans

Derek Kraus, Jagger Jones and Hailie Deegan spent the bulk of the 2019 season in the top three in points in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and ultimately finished first through third, respectively, in the final standings.

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Where they will be racing in 2020 remains to be determined.

Kraus won five races and led the standings from the third race on en route to the K&N Pro Series West championship in his third season in the series. The 18-year-old also made four starts last season in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series with a best finish of eighth at Dover International Speedway in May.

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“The plan is to run (Gander RV & Outdoors) Trucks Series,” Kraus said at last week’s 2019 NASCAR Awards for the regional, international and local touring series. “We got a lot of things in the works. Can’t really announce anything right now, but we’re definitely working on it.”

Kraus indicated running some races in the ARCA Menards Series West was also a possibility — the ARCA Menards Series West is becoming what was previously the K&N Pro Series West. In October, NASCAR unveiled the new NASCAR-ARCA format that includes the ARCA Menards Series East, West, the ARCA Menards Series as well as the ARCA Showdown.

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In his first season in the West ranks, Jones took home Rookie of the Year honors and also notched his first career win at All American Speedway in Roseville, California. Racing is in the 17-year-old’s bloodlines as he is the grandson of 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones and the son of former NASCAR, CART and SportsCar driver P.J. Jones.

“My dad and grandpa have really put me in the situation I’m in,” Jones said. “My dad doesn’t want to be a hands-on coach with me just because of the father-son relationship, but he wants me in the best equipment and with the best team and the best people. My grandpa is right there with me. They both love watching my races. My grandpa is always on FansChoice.TV (becomes TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold on Dec. 5) watching. It’s huge to have their support and their impact on my racing.”

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The Arizona native is still trying to lock down his 2020 plans.

“We’re just trying to put everything together for next year,” Jones said. “I don’t have any official plans. I wish I did, but as of now, we’re working on that with sponsors trying to get everything closed up here.”

Deegan’s sophomore campaign saw her earn more wins, top fives, a better average finish and a higher position in the standings than her freshman season in the K&N Pro Series West. In addition, she ran eight of the 12 K&N Pro Series East races and also made six starts in the ARCA Menards Series.

“At the end of the day, I learned a lot this season and I’m here at this level of grassroots racing to learn,” Deegan said. “I’m excited for next year and trying to figure out next year’s plans so we’ll see.”

The California native is in no rush to climb through the NASCAR ladder as she continues her stock-car journey. 

“My teammate, Derek (Kraus), he just won the championship in his third year,” Deegan said. “At the end of the day, I still have time. I just turned 18. Hopefully, if everything just keeps going as planned we’ll have more success in the future.”