Firing Off in Fourth … Christian Eckes has arrived for his third NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) playoff battle fourth in the driver points standings and kicks off the seven-race title run at Indianapolis Raceway Park (IRP). While Eckes qualified for the playoffs in 2020 and 2022, this season marks the first NCTS playoff appearance for the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing organization. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST has constructed a recent streak of consistency that could prove vital to playoff success. Since finishing sixth at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 26th, Eckes has recorded two top-five’s, four top-10’s, and five finishes of 11th or better in the last six races.
Short Track / Playoff History … The now three-time NCTS playoff combatant made his lone NCTS start at IRP in the series’ return to the venerable short track last season. He has four starts at IRP in the ARCA Menards Series, which included a dominant victory in 2018 by leading 171 of 200 laps. He followed that with a runner-up finish the following year and looks to replicate that success in Friday’s playoff opener. Eckes is still searching for his first NCTS victory on a short track, but he has one top-five and five top-10 short track finishes. In his two previous playoff runs, Eckes has compiled three top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 14 total races. He also won his first career NCTS race during the 2021 playoffs as a part-time competitor.
Season to Date … Eckes enters IRP fourth in the reset NCTS playoff standings, 11 points behind the leader and begins 17 points above the provisional cut line. He finished the 16-race regular season sixth in the standings and earned 14 playoff points with two race victories, four stage wins, five top-fives, and eight top-10 finishes. Eckes’ average finish of 13.0 in the regular season was sixth-best among the full-time NCTS competitors.
Tune In … FOX Sports 1 will carry all on-track activity from IRP on Friday beginning with practice and qualifying at 3:30 p.m. ET. NASCAR Raceday kicks off race coverage at 8:00 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 9:00 p.m. ET on FS1. Stay connected with the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook.
Christian Eckes Quote:
On his outlook for his third playoff run:
“Our NAPA Auto Care team is looking forward to the challenge of racing for a championship. This week at IRP will definitely be a tough test fore sure. I didn’t run the way I wanted to last year at IRP, but I’m confident in our No. 19 team and the effort everyone’s been putting in at MHR. We’ve adjusted our goals a little bit as the year has gone and we’ve won some races, been more consistent lately, and we know we’re capable of getting to Phoenix and racing for a championship. We’re focused on this week though and putting a solid night together at IRP.”
McAnally Hilgemann Racing PR