Race Weekend Central

Christian Eckes Earns 1st 2024 Truck Series Win at Bristol

Christian Eckes went from pole to victory at Bristol Motor Speedway to capture his first win of 2024 in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in the McAnally Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado. Eckes led a race-high 145 for his sixth career victory in the Truck Series.

“It’s so sweet,” Eckes said. “There’s just so much behind this win. From last year missing out on the Championship 4 and losing with five [laps] to go, to come back and redeem ourselves is our number one goal. Not only that, but the first three races and how terribly they’ve gone. We’ve had a lot of issues, and to come back and run really good shows the resilience of this team, so [I’m] super pumped and ready for the next 19 races.”

NASCAR Cup Series regular Kyle Busch finished second after coming close to the lead in the final green flag run to the finish. Busch battled back from behind one second to the back bumper of Eckes at the checkered flag. Busch had the second highest amount of laps led at 105, and the margin of victory was .141 seconds.

“Not being able to prepare in practice on what you expect to race on hurt us,” Busch said. “I don’t think we were as tight as the 19 at the end. Its just track position. I let him go early in that run to just go burn his stuff off. Track position at the end, just the aero effects let him be in front of us.”

Fellow Cup Series driver Zane Smith finished third ahead of ThorSport Racing’s veteran Matt Crafton. Tyler Ankrum, who came into today (March 16) as the points leader, completed the top five.

Corey Heim, Taylor Gray, Rajah Caruth, Grant Enfinger and Layne Riggs, who recovered from spinning in practice, rounded out the top 10.

Eckes started on pole and pulled to an early lead at the start over Sanchez, but the first caution fell early due to Matt Mills spinning and colliding with the inside wall on lap 5.

Eckes would continue his dominance but would start getting caught by Gray; however Gray would be doored by a spinning Keith McGee, causing the second caution of the night.

Busch would take the lead on the restart on lap 53 from Eckes, and Busch pulled away from the No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado to win stage one. Nick Sanchez, Ty Majeski and Smith completed the top five.

Busch continued to maintain the lead over Eckes for the entirety of stage two. The leaders had to navigate heavy lap traffic efficiently to stay out of trouble, notably when Conner Jones went below the apron right in front of the top three.

Sanchez made the pass on Eckes the final lap of stage two to finish second in stage two. Majeski and Smith completed the stage two top five.

The action picked up immediately for the final stage. Majeski and Ben Rhodes got tangled up on the restart after Majeski went spinning after getting loose out of turn 2. The damage would be enough to take Majeski out of the race, finishing 34th.

Busch and Eckes would make contact on the next restart on lap 153 with Eckes almost turning Busch around. Eckes would catch back up to Busch and make the pass for the lead.

The top three of Eckes, Busch and Crafton would converge and start battling for the lead with about 40 to go. However, with about 32 to go, Stewart Friesen and Sanchez wrecked battling inside the top 10, bringing out a late caution.

The two would get into a heated conversation and scuffle on pit road after the race concluded.

Eckes pulled away to a one-second lead on the final restart, and Busch started to run Eckes down, but Eckes held on for the victory by over a truck length.

Ankrum extended his points lead to 17 points over Heim with Caruth following to third after Majeski’s disappointing day that drops him to fourth. Bret Homes moves to the bubble five points ahead of Daniel Dye with Tanner Gray and Friesen sitting 12th and 13th nine and 10 points back respectively.

Weather Guard Truck Race at Bristol Results

The Truck Series will return next week at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, March 23 at 1:30 p.m. ET. The race will be broadcast on TV by FS1.

About the author

Wyatt Watson has been an avid fan of NASCAR since 2007 at the age of 8. He joined Frontstretch in February 2023 after serving in the United States Navy for five years as an Electronic Technician Navigation working on submarines. Wyatt writes breaking NASCAR news and contributes to columns such as Friday Faceoff and 2-Headed Monster. Wyatt also contributes to Frontstretch's social media and serves as an at-track reporter.

Wyatt Watson can be found on Twitter @WyattGametime

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via