The St. Louis-Metro East region is not immune to storms. It’s seen its share of big ones. Think of Saturday’s NASCAR race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois, as a Carolina hurricane and a Texas twister, coming from opposite directions and headed for the same piece of real estate. True, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West Monaco 125 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame is sharing the bill with the NTT IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and Indy Pro 2000 but it’s taking a back seat to nothing and no one.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series is a training ground and feeder system to the big leagues. Young racers hone their skills and hope to be noticed by Truck, Xfinity and Cup team owners. It’s every man – or woman – for himself.
One of those young drivers rocketing through the ranks is Hailie Deegan of Temecula, California. With three wins in 40 starts, she is the first female to win a race in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and already is on the radar screen of Forbes Magazine and the New York Times. And she turned 18 only one month ago.
On June 9, in Colorado, Deegan was leading the race with only two laps remaining. Her Bill McAnally Racing teammate, Derek Kraus, shoehorned his car in between those of Deegan and Trevor Huddleston, who also was battling for first place, and took the lead as starter was ready to wave the white flag. That left Deegan temporarily in third place. Deegan passed Huddleston on the outside and went off in pursuit of Kraus, who just happens to be the winner of the 2018 Monaco 125 at WWTR. Deegan looked to the inside of Kraus as he went for the bottom of the track. You know the rest: Kraus spun; Deegan won.
“Stock-car racing has taught me that there’s rough racing in people,” Deegan told Forbes’ Dave Caldwell. “Either you swing, or you be swung at. And I was always getting swung at in the beginning, and I didn’t know why. I had a turning point where it was like, `Screw that.’ I’m being put into the wall for reasons I couldn’t even explain. I just started throwing my elbows up and fighting back.”
Kraus is the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points leader and will do everything he can to keep Huddleston, who is second in the points race by only 18, away from the title.
That’s not the only fierce rivalry on Saturday’s menu. Sam Mayer and Chase Cabre tangled on the opening lap of the race at Bristol last Thursday. Cabre’s car wound up in the wall and Mayer was sent to the back of the starting line-up as a penalty. Mayer won the race and Cabre finished seventh. When NASCAR.com interviewed Mayer after the race, he was quite frank about the incident.
“He (Cabre) kind of deserves it, Mayer said, eluding to the way he’d been racing Cabre all season long. “I did flat out dump him. I didn’t mean it at all, but I did get in there way too hard and got into him.”
Mayer leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings by just 22 over Cabre. That’s pretty much all that needs to be said.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East & West Monaco 125 presented by West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame: fierce racing, sharp elbows. You don’t want to be the one stuck in the kettle corn line when the green flag flies.
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES EAST AND WEST PROBABLE ENTRY LIST
1 Max McLaughlin Mooresville, NC Toyota
2 Ruben Garcia, Jr. Mexico City, Mexico Toyota
4 Chase Cabre Tampa, Florida Toyota
6 Jagger Jones Scottsdale, Arizona Ford
08 Travis Milburn Eagle, Idaho Chevrolet
09 Jett Noland Orlando, Florida Chevrolet
9 Trevor Huddleston Agoura Hills, California Ford
13 Todd Souza Watsonville, California Toyota
15 Tanner Gray Artesia, New Mexico Toyota
16 Derek Kraus Stratford, Wisconsin Toyota
17 Ty Gibbs Charlotte, North Carolina Toyota
18 Colin Garrett Elmo, Virginia Chevrolet
19 Hailie Deegan Temecula, California Toyota
21 Sam Mayer Franklin, Wisconsin Chevrolet
22 Brandon Oakley Beavercreek, Ohio Toyota
30 Spencer Davis Dawsonville, Georgia Ford
36 Taylor Canfield El Cajon, California Chevrolet
38 Josh Fanopoulos Boise, Idaho Ford
54 Drew Dollar Atlanta, Georgia Toyota
77 Takuma Koga Nagoya, Japan Toyota
99 Brittney Zamora Kennewick, Washington Toyota
The annual Bommarito Automotive Group 500 presented by Axalta and Valvoline brings the cars and international racing stars of the Indianapolis 500 to the St. Louis-Metro East region. Tickets start at just $40 for adults and kids 15 and under are free. Race day also includes races for Indy Lights, Indy Pro 2000 and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West cars – not to mention fireworks and a pre-race show. To purchase tickets or obtain more information about WWTR, please call (618) 215-8888 or visitwww.wwtraceway.com. Follow WWTR on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram.
Story Courtesy of Gateway Motorsports Park