Race Weekend Central

Misfortune for Christian Eckes, Jack Wood Sour Brilliant Day for MHR

Christian Eckes finished in last place, 85 laps down, after leading the first 20 circuits and winning stage one of Saturday’s (Feb. 24) Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

At the track where he scored his first win of four over the course of last season, Eckes was forced to retire on lap 50 due to brake failure. That mark serves as the second-lowest finish of his young NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career.

After winning stage one, Eckes began to explain the situation to his crew chief, Charles Denike, over the radio. However, Denike didn’t “understand the severity of the situation,” according to Eckes on the radio.

After the race, Eckes explained exactly what he felt from the driver’s seat of his No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado.

“I had some smoke in the car on maybe lap 20, 25,” Eckes said. “I came into that last restart and it was a little spongy, like something was wrong … it sucks, but it is what it is.”

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Eckes’ teammate, Jack Wood, wound up sharing the garage with him before the race’s end after he tried to slide into a spot that was simply too narrow for his No. 91 Silverado. Wood crashed out on lap 60, just 10 laps after Eckes found his own way to the garage.

Eckes and Wood were putting together quality races before their untimely exits with one stage win already to show for it, and all signs were pointing towards McAnally-Hilgemann Racing having one of the best days at the office of any team in the garage.

Despite Eckes’ poor finish and Wood’s crash, the rest of their MHR teammates had a solid day overall, even if some of them had to dodge a roof on the way to the finish.

Tyler Ankrum (seventh) and Daniel Dye (ninth) earned a pair of top 10s for MHR, even with Dye having to evade the roof of Bayley Currey‘s truck.

“I guess he got early access to the 2025 Chevy Silverado convertible,” Dye said, only half jokingly. “…It was cool of Chevy to give him a shot at driving that.”

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Before joking about Currey’s unfortunate drop top experience, Dye did speak on his team’s success as a whole and how fast the team showed up to the race track this weekend. The DeLand, Fla. native notched his first career pole start, but had to fight from the back as the race went on.

“It’s kind of like a Corey LaJoie ‘Stacking Pennies’ situation for us [and] for me last year, not running good at all,” Dye said. “It’s real nice, obviously, to sit on the pole. Then, we go to the back and then get back to the front, kind of like we did at Daytona. So yeah, it’s cool.”

Eckes, Dye, Wood and Ankrum will be back in action when the Truck Series goes racing next at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 under the Vegas lights. The green flag is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on March 1, and the race will be aired on FOX Sports 1 and the Motor Racing Network.

About the author

Tanner Marlar is a staff writer for On3 Sports' Maroon and White Daily covering Mississippi State Athletics, an AP Wire reporter, an award-winning sports columnist and talk show host and master's student at Mississippi State University. Soon, Tanner will be pursuing a PhD. in Communicative Research.

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