Race Weekend Central

Christian Eckes Dominates, Wins Martinsville Truck Race

Christian Eckes continues to make short tracks look like clockwork in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Eckes led 133 laps to pick up his seventh career win and second victory of the season Friday (April 5) night in the Long John Silver’s 200. 

Eckes swept both stages and led 104 of the first 105 laps. After pitting and starting the final stage midpack, the No. 19 Chevy truck worked its way up to the front row on a restart with 29 laps to go. 

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After a lap of side-by-side racing with Ty Majeski, Eckes muscled his way in front of Majeski to take the lead. After surviving a series of late cautions, Eckes took the checkered flag as the first repeat winner of the Truck season.

“It hasn’t been an easy regular season, to say the least,” Eckes said in an interview with Fox Sports 1 post-race. “We came in and weren’t that great here last year. Had maybe a sixth-place truck. We worked really hard on it and now we’re in victory lane. Super proud of this entire team.”

Majeski finished second after leading 66 laps.

Majeski said his No. 98 Ford team from ThorSport tried something out with hopes it’ll help when the series returns to Martinsville during the playoffs.

“We came here with a little bit of a different setup,” Majeski told Fox Sports 1 after the race. “Stepped out of our comfort zone a little bit and tried something for the playoffs. That’s the one that matters. I think we’ve gotten better. The 19 was stout tonight, he was just a little bit better than us and he had better tires. I just could not launch on restarts.”

Chase Purdy finished third for his first top-five finish of the season. His previous best finish this season was 15th.

“It’s refreshing,” Purdy told Fox Sports 1. “It’s been a rough start to the season and it’s nice to have a run like this.” 

Nick Sanchez, who led one lap, took fourth and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the top five.

The rest of the top 10 consisted of Taylor Gray, Rajah Caruth, Sammy Smith, Kaden Honeycutt and Corey Heim.

Post-race, a confrontation between Timmy Hill and Stewart Friesen was captured by the Fox Sports 1 broadcast. Hill was spun out by Friesen after the checkered flag. Friesen was involved in the final caution of the evening with 10 laps to go when he spun off the bumper of Grant Enfinger and collected Matt Mills. Friesen finished 19th while Hill finished 20th.

Eckes won stage one with Majeski, Layne Riggs, Heim and Sanchez rounding out the top five. 

With some drivers choosing to pit after stage one and run to the end, a shakeup of the stage results followed. Eckes completed the sweep with Ankrum, Purdy, Majeski and Honeycutt taking points in the top five.

Riggs’ tough start to the season continued despite a third-place start. After finishing third in stage one, Riggs had a slow pit stop that put him near the back of the field. Riggs was involved in two spins during stage two and another with 24 laps to go, but persevered to a 15th-place finish.

Cam Waters, the debuting star from Australia Supercars, finished 30th after being collected in a pair of stack-up crashes in the final 34 laps. Waters, running for ThorSport in the No. 66 Ford, was confirmed to be in the truck again at Kansas on May 4.

Dean Thompson’s night ended with 54 laps to go. When Enfinger got a bump from Ben Rhodes entering turn one, Enfinger sailed up the track and sent Thompson hard into the wall. Thompson finished 33rd.

Truck Results from Martinsville

The Truck Series returns next Friday (April 12) at Texas Motor Speedway for the SpeedyCash.com 250. Coverage on FOX Sports 1 is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.

About the author

James Krause joined Frontstretch in March 2024 as a contributor. Krause was born and raised in Illinois and graduated from Northern Illinois University. He currently works in La Crosse, Wisconsin as a local sports reporter, including short track racing. Krause is a fan of football, auto racing, music, anime and video games.

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