Race Weekend Central

Incredible Save for Christian Eckes, Rebounds to 6th

LAS VEGAS — For a split second, it looked like Christian Eckes‘ night was over — instead he had another solid run at his best track en route to a sixth-place finish Friday (March 3) night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

On lap 28 of the 134-lap NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Eckes found himself in the middle of a three-wide race for the lead. With Zane Smith on his inside and Ty Majeski on his outside, the Middletown, N.Y., native got loose and the back of his No. 19 Chevrolet came around.

It looked like Eckes was going straight into the outside wall while possibly taking out several other trucks. Instead, he made slight contact with Majeski and the outside wall before he straightened the truck out and kept going, falling to the tail of the top 10.

“I just tried to save it. I didn’t really think about that situation, driving in there, three-wide, middle,” Eckes told Frontstretch. “But I did it anyways and got a little loose. I saw the wall coming a little quick, and we saved it. Luckily, we didn’t have a lot of damage.”

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Eckes then drove the truck back into the top five before pitting on a caution prior to the end of stage 2.

“It was pretty easy [coming back through the field],” Eckes said. “I (feel) like I pride myself on restarts, and yeah, was able to drive through. We had a really fast truck, and that’s about it.”

When the pit stops cycled through at the end of stage 2, Eckes found himself back inside the top five and worked his way all the way up to second.

“The No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet was really, really fast today,” Eckes said. “I felt like it was race-winning capable. Obviously, the damage here didn’t do us any justice.”

The race went green for the final 69 laps, resulting in green flag pit stops. Through the stops and other trucks being better on the long run, Eckes dropped out of the top five, finishing in sixth.

When asked what more he needed to contend for the race win, Eckes said, “Not that,” motioning to the damage right below the number on the left side of the truck.

The top 10 marked Eckes’ fifth in seven starts at Las Vegas. The track is also where he scored his lone Truck Series win in 2021. Eckes now has two top 10s in both of his starts since joining McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. While he lost the points lead, Eckes only fell two spots to third place, a good start to his 2023 campaign.

Still, Eckes was more disappointed afterward at damaging a potentially race-winning truck.

“A little too aggressive on my end, but we’ll go to Atlanta [Motor Speedway] and race them hard there.”

About the author

Michael.massie 113x150

Michael Massie joined Frontstretch in 2017 and has served as the Content Director since 2020. Massie, a Richmond, Va., native, has covered NASCAR, IndyCar, SRX and the CARS Tour. Outside of motorsports, the Virginia Tech grad and Green Bay Packers minority owner can be seen cheering on his beloved Hokies and Packers.

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