Monday is proving to be a fruitful day for the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series grid. Hours after Front Row Motorsports announced it would form a Truck team for Todd Gilliland, Bill McAnally Racing has revealed a partnership with Bill Hilgemann to create McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. MHR will field the #19 Toyota Tundra for reigning NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (now ARCA Menards Series West) champion Derek Kraus for the full Truck season.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to partner with Bill Hilgemann and compete in the truck series on a full-time basis,” McAnally stated.
“We’re proud to announce the formation of this team,” Hilgemann added. He and Kraus are both Stratford, Wisconsin natives. “Bill McAnally has a great reputation in the industry and I’m pleased to put this program together with him.”
Formed in the 1990s, Bill McAnally Racing has been one of the West Series’ most successful teams. BMR holds nine driver’s championships, including four in the last five seasons with Chris Eggleston (2015), Gilliland (2016 and 2017), and Kraus (2019). The eighteen-year-old Kraus won five races in his 2019 title campaign, while also scoring two victories in the sister East Series with top-ten finishes in every East start.
Kraus made his Truck Series début at ISM Raceway (now Phoenix Raceway) in 2018 with BMR, where he finished eighth. In 2019, he ran four races with a best run of eighth at Dover International Speedway. However, his later races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Phoenix were marked by technical failures and a crash, while he failed to qualify at Homestead-Miami Speedway due to a rainout.
“Moving up to the Truck Series will be a big learning experience for me,” Kraus commented. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with (general manager) Kevin Bellicourt and the team. It’s going be a fun year.”
As part of the effort, the new team has formed an alliance with Hattori Racing Enterprises. HRE won the 2018 Truck championship with Brett Moffitt, followed by a fifth-place points finish in 2019 with Austin Hill. Hill and HRE also made their NASCAR Xfinity Series débuts that year, finishing ninth in their maiden start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This move is a big challenge and we are grateful for the opportunity to form an alliance with HRE,” McAnally added. “We’re excited to be working with a team that has their winning record in the series. Our relationship with such a strong Toyota program will be beneficial to us and we see it as a key to accelerating our program.”