Bill McAnally has announced a partnership with Bill Hilgemann to form McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, which will field an entry in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series on a full-time basis for the 2020 season.
Eighteen-year-old Derek Kraus, who won the 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship with McAnally, will drive the team’s No. 19 Toyota Tundra.
In conjunction, the newly minted team also announced that it has formed an alliance with Hattori Racing Enterprises.
“I’m excited about this opportunity to partner with Bill Hilgemann and compete in the truck series on a full-time basis,” said McAnally, who fielded an entry in limited truck events this past year as part of his Bill McAnally Racing team.
“We have been working hard to put things in place to move Derek to the next level in NASCAR,” McAnally said. “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.
“This move is a big challenge and we are grateful for the opportunity to form an alliance with HRE,” McAnally said. “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.”
Hilgemann – a businessman from Stratford, Wisconsin; where Kraus hails from – is also looking forward to an exciting season with the new team.
“We’re proud to announce the formation of this team,” Hilgemann said. “Bill McAnally has a great reputation in the industry and I’m pleased to put this program together with him.
“Derek is a talented young driver and we are excited to have him behind the wheel,” Hilgemann added.
Kraus made five starts in the truck series with BMR. He finished eighth at Phoenix Raceway in making his series debut in 2018 and notched another eighth-place finish at Dover International Speedway, in one of four starts he made in 2019.
“Moving up to the truck series will be a big learning experience for me,” Kraus said. “I am looking forward to continuing to work with Kevin Bellicourt and the team. It’s going be a fun year.”
Bellicourt served as the general manager at BMR this past season. In addition to that role, he will also be the crew chief on the truck team. With the new alliance, he will be working with the HRE team – led by general manager, Mike Greci, and crew chief, Scott Zipadelli.
HRE, which is owned by Shige Hattori, won the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series championship in 2018. In addition to the truck series, the team also fielded a car last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
The relationship between McAnally and Greci stems from a long-term friendship that extends back to when Greci was offered a job by McAnally about 20 years ago.
“We’ve been friends ever since then and we’ve got a great respect for each other,” Greci said.
“To try to race the truck series from the West Coast is probably next to impossible,” he said. “We’re a Toyota TRD team and Bill is a Toyota TRD team. We’re happy that we’ve got our program running well. Our focus is to help Bill get his program going.
“We’ve always been a single team,” Greci said. “Now we have team help. I think it’s a good situation for everybody. It’s about getting together. I think there’s a benefit to both race teams in doing this. I think it will be a good season for everybody.”
This could also offer an opportunity for new crew members, he indicated.
“With this alliance between HRE and MHR, we will be looking for qualified, driven and caring employees who want to win,” Greci said.
In addition to McAnally’s role with the truck team, he will continue as president of BMR – based in Roseville, California. The team, which has won a record nine championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, will continue to compete in that series – which is evolving into NASCAR’s ARCA Menards Series West.
McAnally was previously involved in the truck series nearly 20 years ago when he was partnered with Michael Gaughan at Orleans Racing to field an entry for Brendan Gaughan, who had won back-to-back K&N West championships in 2000 and 2001.