Race Weekend Central

Christian Eckes Steals Kansas Win in 2-Lap Shootout

Christian Eckes took his third win of the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season by shoving his way past Zane Smith and Corey Heim during a green-white-checkered finish at Kansas Speedway.

Taylor Gray capitalized on the chaotic battle for the lead to sneak through to second, with Matt DiBenedetto finishing third. DiBenedetto, however, will be less than thrilled with a third-place result as only a win could advance him to the next round of the playoffs.

“That was wild – I didn’t know if I was going to win it or not,” Eckes said after the race. ‘We had, like, a sixth-place truck all day but that caution coming out… I knew we had a shot at it and here we are. We haven’t won in a really long time.”

To be specific, Eckes used a strong run out of turn 4 to close up on Heim and Smith coming to the white flag before crossing to the inside at the entry of turn 3 on the final lap to take the lead. Through came Gray and DiBenedetto while Heim and Smith ompleted the top five ahead of Carson Hocevar, Stewart Friesen, Nick Sanchez, Jesse Love and Tyler Ankrum.

Sanchez and Hocevar won the first two stages; and the latter made his presence known as the laps wound down, running toward the top three on the final restart before faltering during the dash to the checkered flag. Hocevar’s points accrued by finishing ninth in the first stage ensured his advancement to the next round of the playoffs.

See also
Connor Mosack Earns First Career ARCA Win at Kansas

An otherwise smooth race turned hectic during the latter half of the final stage. Mason Maggio smacked the wall with 17 to go, triggering a caution at the end of green flag pit stops.

Racing resumed with eight laps remaining and just as soon, Tanner Gray and Rajah Caruth were caught up in an accident. Caruth took a dramatic detour through the grass while Gray picked up heavy damage

Ben Rhodes struggled with an uncooperative truck throughout the night and could manage only a 25th-place finish. Grant Enfinger likewise ended the night in frustration after picking up a speeding penalty on pit road late in the race, which left him to finish 17th.

Three-time champion Matt Crafton will join DiBenedetto in elimination from the playoffs owing to contact with the wall that proved damning for his efforts to stay in the playoff picture. The driver of the No. 88 finished 33th, nine laps down.

NASCAR Truck Series at Kansas Results

The next outing for the Craftsman Truck Series will be the UNOH 200 from Bristol Motor Speedway. Coverage will began at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 14 on FS1.

About the author

Alex is the IndyCar Content Director at Frontstretch, having initially joined as an entry-level contributor in 2021. He also serves as Managing Director of The Asia Cable, a publication focused on the international affairs and politics of the Asia-Pacific region which he co-founded in 2023. With previous experience in China, Japan and Poland, Alex is particularly passionate about the international realm of motorsport and the politics that make the wheels turn - literally - behind the scenes.

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