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Christian Eckes will compete for McAnally Hilgemann Racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023, MHR announced Dec. 6.
Jake Garcia will additionally move to a full-time ride with the team in its No. 35 once he turns 18, beginning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
NAPA will return as a sponsor of the team.
“I’m ecstatic to get the season started,” team owner Bill McAnally said in a release. “We have a lot to be optimistic about with bringing Christian into our program and Jake having his first full-time opportunity. We’ve enjoyed a tremendous relationship with NAPA and NAPA Auto Care and going into our 33rd year together is incredibly special. I’m excited about Christian’s experience and the potential Jake has to elevate our program and our partners.”
Eckes will drive the No. 19, which was previously fielded for Derek Kraus in the series.
Eckes moves from ThorSport Racing, for whom he drove the No. 98 last year.
He scored eight top fives and 15 top 10s with the team, finishing eighth in points.
“It’s a true pleasure for me to be a part of MHR, the NAPA Racing family, and to contribute to growing this program into a championship-caliber organization,” Eckes added. “That’s what Bill, the team, and I have set out to achieve and I believe he has assembled a group that can make that goal a reality. To be part of the long-standing partnership with NAPA Racing, NAPA Auto Care and MHR is an honor and I’m fully prepared to take full advantage of this great opportunity. I’m more motivated than ever to produce results with this team and ready to get to work with everyone at MHR for 2023 and beyond.”
Garcia made five starts with the team in 2022, with a best finish of 16th at Phoenix Raceway.
“To have the chance to race full-time at this level is very special to me and my family,” Garcia said. “Having the support of Adaptive One, Chevrolet and everyone at MHR is extremely exciting. This is a huge opportunity for me, and I wish we could start the season tomorrow.
“Coming from super late models to the Craftsman Truck Series, there’s a lot of details and situations I need to experience, and hopefully we can learn each week and consistently improve throughout the year. There’s a ton of sharp people and valuable resources at MHR and Chevrolet to learn from, and I’m excited to take advantage of those and be a teammate with Christian.”
MHR has not yet announced the driver of the No. 35 at Daytona International Speedway.
The No. 91 that MHR fielded in 2022 is not currently returning for 2023. Colby Howard drove the truck full time in 2022.
In 2022, the No. 19 earned seven top 10s with Kraus behind the wheel. Howard landed three top 10s with the No. 91.
About the author
Rutherford is the managing editor of Frontstretch, a position he gained in 2015 after serving on the editing staff for two years. At his day job, he's a journalist covering music and rock charts at Billboard. He lives in New York City, but his heart is in Ohio -- you know, like that Hawthorne Heights song.
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