Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) scored his third career ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards victory with a dominant performance in Saturday’s rain-delayed Shore Lunch 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. Eckes led 171 of the race’s 200 laps, including the final 42 en route to the win.
Eckes, who started from the General Tire Pole after setting a track record in qualifying, retook the lead on the final restart from Chase Purdy (No. 8 Bama Buggies Toyota), who won the race off pit road during the fourth and final caution flag of the night. From there, Eckes built an 11.47 second lead at the finish, a half-lap on the 0.686-mile oval.
“I really should give all the credit to my crew chief Kevin Reed and the guys on the team,” Eckes said in victory lane. “They gave me the best car I’ve ever had. I was just the lucky one who got to drive it.”
Eckes had to work his way back to the front of the field after dropping to sixth after his first pit stop of the night.
“It’s not like we didn’t have to work for it,” Eckes said. “We had a problem on the first pit stop and dropped into the field and the car just went right back to the front.”
Sheldon Creed (No. 28 United Rentals/Hardees Toyota) finished second, clinching the 2018 Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge championship.
“It’s weird to be that strong in practice and not be over in victory lane,” Creed said. “Every time we’ve been that good this season we’ve ended up winning. But we locked up the short track challenge championship and now we can look ahead to Kansas and clinch the overall championship too.”
Creed accumulated 2070 points in the SCSTC to win the eleven-race championship-within-a-championship by 35 points over Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota). Purdy was third, 60 points behind.
Creed leaves Lucas Oil Raceway with a 425 point lead over Zane Smith (No. 41 LaPaz Margarita Mix/ICON Vehicle Dynamics Toyota) in the battle for the overall series title.
Purdy finished fourth with Carson Hocevar (No. 35 KBR Development Chevrolet) in fifth.
The start of the race was bumped up by an hour due to the thread of inclement weather, which struck just as the field took the one to go signal. After a two-and-a-half hour rain delay, the race started with the first six laps run under the caution flag.
The only on track incident of the night that drew a caution flag was an accident in turn two that involved Kaden Honeycutt (No. 43 C&S Trailers Ford) and Harrison Burton (No. 12 Morton Buildings Toyota) as they battled for the eighth position. Both were able to continue, albeit with damage.
There were a total of four caution flags for 29 laps. There were five lead changes among three drivers. The race took one hour, 34 minutes and 33 seconds to complete at an average speed of 87.07 miles per hour.
The next event of the season for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the season finale, the Kansas ARCA 150 at Kansas Speedway on Friday, October 19. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, track updates and scanner audio through the day. Broadcast details, including network and start time, will be released soon.
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