Time for Short Tracks … The first true short track race of the season awaits Christian Eckes as he comes to Martinsville Speedway fifth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) standings. With one victory under his belt this season at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS), Eckes will be pursuing a second and the prestigious grandfather clock trophy at “The Paperclip” with a fresh Gates Hydraulics paint scheme on board his No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado RST. Eckes is hungry for his first short track win at the NCTS level and has a pedigree to do so as a former winner of the venerable Snowball Derby in 2016.
Setting the Pace … It’s never too early to look at projected playoff standings, and Eckes is already well-positioned after six races. His three stage wins lead all full-time NCTS competitors, and he has banked eight playoff points, the second-most of all drivers. Despite recent unfortunate results, Eckes is outpacing his previous two full-time seasons through six races, due in large part to posting an average finish of 3.3 in the first three races. The Martinsville bullring offers him and the Gates Hydraulics team a chance to regain their top-five form and add to their playoff point total on Friday night.
Short Track History … Martinsville Speedway is the first of two short tracks in the next four races on the NCTS calendar, and Eckes has shown plenty of muscle on the Virginia bullring. He made his debut at Martinsville in 2018 with a ninth-place finish and followed that up with a pole award the following year. His best finish at “The Paperclip” was a fourth-place effort in the penultimate race of the 2020 season and has three finishes of 12th or better in four Martinsville starts. In 10 previous short track races in the NCTS, Eckes has earned five top-10 finishes at four different tracks.
Chassis Selection … Chassis No. 313 gets its first call to action of the season on Friday night. This Chevrolet Silverado RST most recently competed at Phoenix Raceway in November with Colby Howard behind the wheel and finished 15th.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 has coverage all day beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET with practice and qualifying. NASCAR Raceday sets the stage at 6:30 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 7:30 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 19 Gates Hydraulics team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook.
Christian Eckes Quote:
On the first short track race of the season:
“I think most people enjoy short track racing, including our Gates Hydraulics team. We’ve had speed at every single race this year, so we’re confident that we can go to Martinsville and be a contender for that clock. It’s our first short track race together, so I’m excited to see how our Chevrolet Silverado RST drives in practice and we’ll come up with a plan for how we can be ever better in the race. We have a few short tracks in the regular season, so hopefully we can have a good night at Martinsville and take advantage of these tracks to keep getting playoff points and another win.”
McAnally Hilgemann Racing PR