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Eckes Seizes Redemption with Dominant Bristol Win


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Redemption was served on Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) as Christian Eckes was victorious after leading 144 laps and swept the night for his first victory at “Thunder Valley”. The driver of the No. 19

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Chevrolet Silverado RST atoned for his runner-up finish at BMS last September in convincing fashion by pacing practice, earning his seventh-career pole award, and leading the most laps. The sixth NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) victory of his career vaulted him to fifth in the championship standings after earning a race-high 57 points.

#19: Christian Eckes, McAnally Hilgemann Racing, NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado

Eckes put the entire field on notice during practice that his NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet would be the truck to beat. He posted a quick time of 15.55 seconds in practice and backed it up with MHR’s third-straight pole on the BMS concrete, and his second-consecutive. At the green flag, Eckes jumped out to a quick lead and paced the opening 52 circuits. A loose handling condition hindered him from collecting a playoff point in the first segment but still earned nine points in second position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 65.

#19: Christian Eckes, McAnally Hilgemann Racing, NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado

Crew chief Charles Denike kept Eckes on track during the first stage caution to employ a one-stop strategy in an effort to maintain track position. The race ran without incident from lap 77 through the end of Stage 2 on lap 130. During the run, Eckes continued to wrestle with a loose condition on corner entry and was scored third to earn eight points at lap 130 before coming to pit road for his only pit stop of the night for four tires, fuel, and adjustments.

#19: Christian Eckes, McAnally Hilgemann Racing, NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado

The NAPA Auto Care team gained a position for Eckes on the stop and allowed him to restart on the front row for the lap 143 restart. He began to pressure Kyle Busch for the race lead on lap 154 and reclaimed the top spot on lap 159. Eckes perfectly executed a restart on lap 227 and created a comfortable gap over the final 24 circuits. In the waning laps, Eckes was able to fend off Busch’s response for the lead and banked his first BMS win. His victory also marked a historic night for MHR as teammates Zane Smith and NCTS points leader Tyler Ankrum joined him in the top-five, marking the first time the organization has had three of the top-five finishers.

#19: Christian Eckes, McAnally Hilgemann Racing, NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado

“Oh, man, 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 the race with six (laps) to go. To come back and redeem ourselves was our number one goal, and not only that, but the first three races, how terribly they’ve gone. We had a lot of issues, and to come back and run really good just show the resilience of the team.”

Start / Finish: 1 / 1
Points Standing / Total: 5th / 142 pts. (-32)

Next Race: Saturday, March 23, Circuit of the Americas
How to Watch or Listen: 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM

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    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes finished second on Saturday afternoon for the third-straight season at World Wide Technology Raceway. The driver of the No. 19 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST led for the 12th-straight race this season and delivered a 53-point performance, tied for the most of all drivers in the field. Eckes now holds a 31-point advantage in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) standings after 12 races with four remaining in the regular season.
      Eckes was near the front of the field for the entire weekend in St. Louis. On Friday afternoon, he posted the second-quickest lap in practice and qualified second. After cloudy and rainy skies gave way to bright sunshine on Saturday afternoon, Eckes fired off in the second position and threatened for the lead. A restart on lap 16 gave him the opportunity to briefly claim the race lead in the 12th event this season. While he battled a tight handling condition, Eckes maintained the second position for the balance of Stage 1 to earn nine points on lap 35.
      Crew chief Charles Denike elected to put four tires on Eckes’ Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet during the stage caution as varying strategies developed. Eckes restarted 12th on lap 42, but swiftly made his way back towards the front. He restarted eighth on lap 55 after a quick yellow and immediately rejoined the top five on lap 56. The balance on his Chevrolet was improved but a tight condition still lingered. He took the third spot on lap 64 and reclaimed second on lap 67. He collected another nine points at the end of Stage 2 on lap 70.
      During the second stage caution, Eckes took another set of fresh tires, but an issue on the left front relegated him to restart 12th on lap 78. Despite the setback, Eckes locked in and drove forward yet again to blitz his way back into the top five on lap 91. A long green flag run set up a cycle of green flag pit stops beginning at lap 118. Eckes pitted for the final time on lap 122 under green for four tires and a minor adjustment. He narrowly unlapped himself before the race’s final caution flew on lap 130. Eckes cycled to third for the event’s final restart on lap 137. He seized control of a podium position on the restart and moved into second on lap 150. Eckes began to reel in the leader in the waning laps but took the checkered flag in second position for his sixth top-five finish of the season.
      “The whole weekend was second,” Eckes said. “We practiced in second. We qualified second. Second in both stages and second in the race. Consistent on that, but just definitely let one slip there. I felt like we should have won that race and felt like we had the best truck, but just got behind on track position and never could get it back up. Just super hard to pass and here we are running second. Can’t thank Gates Hydraulics, NAPA, Chevrolet, and everybody enough, and Sparks Tire & Auto.”
      Start / Finish: 2 / 2
      Points Standing / Total: 1st / 506 pts. (+31)
      Next Race: Friday, June 28, Nashville Superspeedway
      How to Watch or Listen: FS2, MRN or SiriusXM
      NAPA: 
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    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes took an unorthodox path to secure a top-10 finish and extended his points lead on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). The driver of the No. 19
      link hidden, please login to view Chevrolet Silverado RST earned a 10th-place finish after persevering through a trying day and now owns a 30-point advantage in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) championship standings after 11 of 16 regular season races. Eckes was instantly faced with adversity in practice after posting the third-quickest time in the session. He received significant damage to the left side of his Chevrolet after contact from another truck in practice and forced the team to make major repairs. Consequently, Eckes was scrubbed in qualifying and started from the tail of the field. The repairs did not deter Eckes as he targeted the front and rapidly charged forward at the start. He advanced from 35th to 14th by the end of Stage 1 on lap 30, despite simultaneously dealing with a low voltage issue.
      Under the first stage caution, crew chief Charles Denike and the NAPA team executed an efficient diagnosis of the situation which was attributed to a disconnected alternator. The team kept Eckes on the lead lap during the pit cycle to make repairs, but he was forced to restart at the tail of the lead lap. Once again, Eckes moved forward and advanced to 20th by the end of Stage 2 on lap 60.
      After pitting during the stage break, Eckes also pitted under caution on lap 75. The strategy allowed him to get off sequence with most of the lead lap trucks, and it paid off with a caution on lap 81. As the majority hit pit road, Eckes stayed on track to inherit the fifth position for the lap 88 restart. In his trademark fashion, Eckes wasted no time on the restart and immediately went from fifth to first. He paced the field for 37 laps while in fuel-savings mode until the final caution flew on lap 121. Eckes elected to stay on track in the lead as all but six trucks behind him dove to pit road for fresh tires. Over the final nine laps Eckes did his best to hold off competitors the fresh rubber, but took the checkered flag in 11th position.
      Following post-race technical inspection, the No. 11 truck was disqualified and Eckes was credited with a 10th-place finish.
      “We had a ton of adversity all day, for sure.” Eckes said. “We put ourselves in position to win the race and needed it to go green to the end for everything to work out like we wanted. It’s unfortunate, but really proud of the effort all these guys showed on our NAPA Auto Care, Black’s Tire Chevrolet. To get this truck repaired and turned around to race with that much speed says a lot about our team. Really proud of that and we’ll try to finish it off at Gateway next week.”
      Start / Finish: 35 / 10
      Points Standing / Total: 1st / 453 pts. (+30)
      Next Race: Saturday, June 1, WWT Raceway
      How to Watch or Listen: FOX, MRN or SiriusXM
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    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes turned in a solid effort on Sunday afternoon at North Wilkesboro Speedway which resulted in a sixth-place finish. The driver of the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Chevrolet Silverado RST recorded his eighth top-10 finish in a row and maintained the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series points lead by four markers after 10 of 16 regular season events.
      Eckes started the event from the pole after qualifying was washed out by inclement weather Saturday morning. The 250-lapper went green under threatening skies on Saturday and Eckes continued his dominant short track ways by leading the first 62 laps. He made a pit stop for left side tires under a lap-58 caution and restarted 10th on lap 68. He advanced to seventh position by lap 70 to collect four points at the conclusion of Stage 1. Severe thunderstorms and torrential rains overcame North Wilkesboro during the caution period and postponed the remainder of the race until Sunday morning.
      When the event resumed under sunny skies on Sunday, Eckes restarted sixth and immediately charged into the top-five. He ran as high as third on lap 103 until a caution slowed the field at lap 117. Crew chief Charles Denike called Eckes in for his second and final pit stop of the event for right sides during the caution. He restarted 10th and utilized the outside lane to perfection and instantly climbed to seventh. The move on the restart netted Eckes another four points at the end of Stage 2 on lap 140.
      After briefly dropping to 10th after a restart on lap 147, Eckes regained his footing and reentered the top five by lap 190. He remained a threat by lining up third for a restart with 37 laps to go but was pinned on the bottom lane. After waging war in a multi-truck battle for a top-five position over the final 30 laps, Eckes took the checkered flag in sixth position for his best finish in two starts at North Wilkesboro.
      “I kind of struggled all day,” Eckes said. “Balance wasn’t great. Just proud of the Instacoat guys for the effort. We weren’t very good on Friday when we were practicing and we got it better, but it still just wasn’t enough. Just way too tight at the end. We’ll move on to Charlotte with the number one pit stall, so excited for that.”
      Start / Finish: 1 / 6
      Points Standing / Total: 1st / 426 pts. (+4)
      Next Race: Friday, May 24, Charlotte Motor Speedway
      How to Watch or Listen: 8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM
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    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes reclaimed the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series points lead with a steady fourth-place result at Darlington Raceway on Friday night. The driver of the No. 19 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST captured his fourth consecutive top-five finish to lead the championship standings for the second time this season. Eckes delivered a monster points night by earning 50 markers, the most of all drivers in the field, and now holds a 14-point advantage after nine races.
      Eckes’ red and yellow Brownie King throwback scheme set the fastest lap in Friday afternoon’s practice session and turned in the seventh-quickest qualifying lap. The 2023 Darlington Raceway winner immediately cracked the top five on lap two when the evening’s first caution flew. He instantly jumped into a podium position on the lap six restart and began to stalk the race lead. While the balance on his Chevrolet swung free in the first segment, Eckes managed to track down the race leader in the first 45 laps. Stage 1 came to a close on lap 45 with Eckes running second and claimed nine points.
      Under the first stage caution, crew chief Charles Denike brought Eckes to pit road for four tires, fuel, and a minor adjustment to secure his free balance. Eckes restarted third and took control of the runner-up position by lap 71. While he attempted to reel in the race lead in the waning laps of Stage 2, he surrendered that position to a fellow Chevrolet competitor that had fresher tires with an alternative strategy. Nevertheless, Eckes banked another eight points at the end of Stage 2 on lap 90.
      Eckes pitted again under the stage caution for more of the same service, fresh tires and a small adjustment. He restarted third on lap 98 and took the lead for the first time on lap 106. As the final segment progressed, Eckes’ loose handling condition did also. The rear of his Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet progressively lost grip and caused him to lose touch with the lead. However, a caution on lap 143 reset the field for an overtime finish. With fresh tires, Eckes lined up sixth on the final restart and navigated his way through a chaotic conclusion to collect a fourth-place finish.
      “At times we were good, times we weren’t,” Eckes said. “Real inconsistent as far as handling, sets of tires, everything was kind of inconsistent for us. Proud of the execution. Proud of a top-five but felt like we were probably a little more capable than that. We kind of let the balance get away from us on our Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet. On to Wilkesboro.”
      Start / Finish: 7 / 4
      Points Standing / Total: 1st / 387 pts.
      Next Race: Saturday, May 18, North Wilkesboro Speedway
      How to Watch or Listen: 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM
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    • A-premium Auto Parts:5% OFF with Code GM5.
    • By NAPA
      Christian Eckes continued his remarkable consistency with a third-place finish on Saturday night at Kansas Speedway for his third-straight top-five result. The driver of the No. 19 Adaptive One Calipers Chevrolet Silverado RST led twice for 11 laps en route to his sixth-straight top-10 and continued his streak of leading laps in all eight events this season. Eckes netted 50 points on the night, second-most, and sits second in what is developing into a two-horse race for the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) regular season crown.
      Eckes posted the fourth-fastest single lap in Saturday morning’s practice session and qualified 10th for the 134-lap event. His patented aggression was on full display in the opening lap as he made multiple three-wide maneuvers to take the fifth position. A restart on lap seven after the race’s lone natural caution allowed him to take the fourth position and he advanced to third by lap 24. Eckes was able to pocket eight points at the end of Stage 1 on lap 30.
      Crew chief Charles Denike called Eckes to pit road under the first stage caution where the No. 19 team ripped off a lightning four-tire stop to take the race lead. Eckes restarted as the race leader on lap 38 and led the field at the start of the second segment. A tight handling condition hampered Eckes’ pace, but he continued to maintain a podium position through the conclusion of Stage 2 at lap 60 to collect an additional eight points.
      Denike and the No. 19 team armed Eckes with another set of tires and track bar adjustments to improve the balance during the second stage caution, and delivered another rapid pit stop to regain the lead. Eckes jumped out to a brief advantage on the lap 68 restart, but ran fourth by lap 82 due to a lingering tight condition. He made his final pit stop of the night under green on lap 96 and was able to cycle to third position by lap 103. He maintained pace with the race leader over the final 20-plus laps and took the checkered flag in third for his fourth top-five finish of the season.
      “The Adaptive One Chevy was a little bit tight all day,” Eckes said. “We got it better at times, but just didn’t keep up with the racetrack enough. There’s a lot of race track changes that we just weren’t really anticipating and just couldn’t keep up with the racetrack. But still had a race-winning capable truck if we kept up with the balance. Definitely a lot to look forward to in the future here and just excited for the next couple races.”
      Start / Finish: 10 / 3
      Points Standing / Total: 2nd / 337 pts. (-7)
      Next Race: Friday, May 10, Darlington Raceway
      How to Watch or Listen: 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM
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