Path to the Title Leads To ‘Dega … Christian Eckes has his ultimate destination in sight as he returns to Talladega Superspeedway for his third start at the world’s largest speedway. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST is one step away from reaching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) championship race at Phoenix Raceway. He has been dynamic through the first four races of the NCTS playoffs, with finishes of third or better in each race. His electric performances have placed him second in the championship standings with a 29-point cushion on the cut line with two races remaining in the “Round of 8”.
Reaching Elite Status … If the best regular season of his career wasn’t enough, Eckes has cemented himself as one of the tour’s elite competitors with his playoff performance thus far. He’s peaking at the right time of year with an average finish of 2.0 in four playoff races thanks to finishes of second, third, first, and second. The last four races have been the best stretch of Eckes’ 88-race NCTS career and he’ll look to extend his elite streak on Saturday at Talladega. He began the season by leading a race-high 19 laps at Daytona International Speedway in February and captured a stage win and finished third. In 2022, Eckes finished fifth at Talladega and is the only driver to have and active streak of three consecutive top-five superspeedway finishes.
Season to Date … Eckes has constructed a title-worthy season through 20 races with three wins, a career high nine top-five’s and 12 top-10 finishes. He’s also tallied six stage wins, tied for the most in the series, and has lowered his average finish to 10.8, third-best among full-time drivers. After leading 150 laps at Bristol Motor Speedway, Eckes eclipsed his previous career high for laps led in a season, having now paced the field for 307 circuits this year. Eckes can punch his ticket into the NCTS title race with a victory on Saturday, or by leaving Talladega with a 61-point cushion on the cut line.
Tune In … Coverage from ‘Dega beings on Saturday morning with qualifying at 9:30 a.m. ET on FOX Sports 2. NASCAR Raceday airs at 12:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 followed by the green flag at 1:00 p.m. ET. 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 the unpredictable nature of Talladega:
“Superspeedways are always unpredictable and wild, but we have a great NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet for this weekend. I felt like we had one of, if not the fastest truck, at Daytona earlier this year, so that gives us a lot of confidence going into the weekend. There’s a lot out of your control at the superspeedways, but we’re well prepared and going to try and put ourselves in a position to win the race and score points. We’re in a great position after Bristol and that gives us a little more security this weekend. We’re really close to our next goal of advancing to Phoenix, and that’s our focus this weekend.”
McAnally Hilgemann Racing PR