McAnally-Hilgemann Racing announced that Charles Denike will be joining the organization to serve as a new crew chief for Derek Kraus and the No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado RST team for the remainder of this year’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season.
Denike, who served as a crew chief in 26 ARCA Menards Series East events from 2012 to 2016, joins McAnally-Hilgemann Racing after nearly three seasons at GMS Racing, where he commenced this season as crew chief for Grant Enfinger and the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado RST team. With Denike transitioning to McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, veteran Jeff Hensley was recently announced as Enfinger’s new crew chief for the remainder of this season. Denike, meanwhile, replaces veteran Shane Wilson, who was suspended from last weekend’s Truck event at Nashville Superspeedway due to an improperly installed ballast that was found on Kraus’ truck. Th infraction that was discovered prior to the event resulted with the team being assessed an L1-level penalty and a 10-point dock in both the driver and owner standings.
“I am excited to join MHR and to work with Derek Kraus on the 19 team,” Denike said. “Derek is highly talented and we are looking forward to our first race together at Mid-Ohio. Over the next two races we will push hard to make the playoffs. MHR has built a great team with a strong foundation and I am thankful for the opportunity to help continue to advance their program.”
Denike made his debut as a NASCAR crew chief in 2020 and for GMS Racing’s No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado team that competed in all but the first two events of the 23-race schedule. Throughout the season, the ride was shared between Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, Chase Purdy, David Kravel, Kris Wright, Sam Mayer and Greg Biffle. With the team making its first start of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Denike went to Victory Lane in his crew chief debut when Elliott claimed a dominant victory over Kyle Busch. Fourteen races later, Denike guided Mayer to his first career victory at Bristol Motor Speedway during the 2020 Truck Playoffs in September. To go along with a total of four top-five results and seven top-10 results, Denike led the No. 24 GMS Racing team to a 16th-place result in the 2020 Truck owners’ standings.
This past season, Denike served as a full-time crew chief for Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 GMS Racing Chevrolet Silverado team. Together, Denike and Ankrum achieved a pole, three top-five results, five top-10 results, an average-finishing result of 19.8 and a 15th-place result in the 2021 drivers’ standings. Having started this year’s Truck season as a crew chief for Enfinger, the duo have achieved three top-five results and seven top-10 results through the first 14-scheduled events.
Through 57 previous appearances as a crew chief, Denike has achieved two victories, one pole, 10 top-five results and 19 top-10 results while working with nine different competitors.
“We’re excited to have Charles join our team,” Bill McAnally, Co-owner of McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, said. “We’re confident that he will strengthen our overall team as we move ahead and help us take full advantage of the opportunities we have available through our alliance with GMS Racing.”
Kraus is currently campaigning in his third full-time season in the Truck Series, where he has achieved a total of three poles, four top-five results, 23 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 16.6 in 64 previous Truck starts. He is currently ranked in 11th place in the drivers’ standings on the strength of four top-10 results and trails the top-10 cutline to qualify for the 2022 Truck Playoffs by 29 points with two regular season races remaining to the schedule: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 9 and Pocono Raceway on July 23.
Denike will be making his first appearance as a crew chief for Kraus and the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet Silverado RST team at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, July 9. The event’s coverage is scheduled to occur at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1.