Eckes Rallies for Top-10 Result in Charlotte

McAnally Hilgemann Racing Photo

Christian Eckes secured his fifth top-10 result of the season on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) after a determined rally earned him a sixth-place finish. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST scored 32 points on the evening and collected his second top-10 result at CMS in his fourth start. Eckes holds the sixth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings with five events remaining in the regular season. 

After qualifying sixth under a sun-drenched sky, Eckes began the 134-lap race with a handful of steering wheel as he fought a loose condition in the opening laps. The first 30-lap stage ran under green flag conditions, which was a challenge for Eckes as his NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet was especially loose on corner entry and through the center. As a result, Eckes was scored 15th at the end of Stage 1, but received brilliant pit work by the No. 19 team on the ensuing pit stop. 

The NAPA Auto Care team serviced Eckes in rapid fashion, gaining him six positions with a terrific four tire pit stop. Eckes lined up on the outside of row five for the restart on lap 37 but continued to fight a diminished loose condition. He held position in the top-10 until Stage 2 ended on lap 60 and collected one point while running 10th. 

Crew chief Charles Denike and company made a significant adjustment to the right rear spring during a four tire pit stop which proved to be beneficial during the subsequent run. Eckes restarted 13th on lap 69 and reported the balance was “definitely better” when the caution flag waved again on lap 80. Eckes made his final pit stop on lap 86 under the yellow and restarted seventh on lap 90. After narrowly avoiding an accident on the restart, he found himself running third and in contention for the victory. Eckes’ aggression nearly earned him the lead by making a three-wide move for the race lead on lap 97. He ran as high as second, before settling into sixth position on lap 123. He held that position until the checkered flag waved to pick up his fifth top-10 result of the 2023 campaign. 

Christian Eckes Quote:

“Just determination by the team, really. We didn’t really have a great truck. I felt like it was probably around eighth to tenth. We got some track position by some really good pit stops tonight and put us in a situation where we could go race for it. Obviously, I wish we were a little bit better, but at the same time really proud of the execution of the team to get there and just the determination of everybody for fighting so hard.”


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