Eckes Focused on Retaining Short Track Crown at North Wilkesboro

McAnally Hilgemann Racing Photo

Short Track King … North Wilkesboro Speedway (NWS) has new life with a fresh coat of asphalt after its revival last season and is the stage for Christian Eckes to continue his short track proficiency. The driver of the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products (IPP) Chevrolet Silverado RST has proven to be the short track king of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) in recent history. Eckes has claimed victories at the first two short track races of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS) and Martinsville Speedway in dominant fashion. In those two events, Eckes led a combined 277 laps on his way to victory with two stage wins, 37 of 40 possible stage points and started on the front row in both races. 

Back on Top … Eckes returns to short track racing with the NCTS points lead thanks to his recent stretch of top-five performances. For the second time this season, he’s back on top of the championship standings with a 14-point advantage with four consecutive top-five finishes. He took control of the points lead last weekend with a 50-point effort and fourth-place finish at Darlington Raceway. That advantage could be forecasted to increase based on Eckes’ recent short track stats. Dating back Indianapolis Raceway Park last summer, Eckes has set a torrid record in the last six races at tracks one mile and shorter. In those events, Eckes has finished on the podium in each races and has driven to victory lane in the last three races. He and crew chief Charles Denike look to extend that streak in Wilkes County, NC on Saturday. 

Season to Date … As strong as Eckes was in 2023, he’s been even more impressive through nine races this season. He currently leads the NCTS standings with two wins, five top-five’s, and eight top-10 finishes. The No. 19 Chevrolet has been a fixture at the front of the field as Eckes has already set his career-high mark for laps led with 363, and is the only NCTS competitor to have led laps in each race this season. Eckes also ranks at, or near the top, in several statistical categories including 115 stage points (first), 115 fastest laps run (first), a 7.7 average finish (second), an 8.07 average running position (second), and 109.7 driver rating (second). 

Tune In … Coverage from the storied NWS begins Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. with an extended practice session on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). Qualifying rolls off at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday morning on FS1, followed by NASCAR Raceday at 1:00 p.m. ET and the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 19 IPP team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook. 

Christian Eckes Quote:

On the fresh repave at North Wilkesboro Speedway:

“We tested there in March and it’s much better than the old surface. It’s really fast, super fun and they did a good job of keeping some of the track’s character. We’ll see how the track gets rubbered in this week and during practice to see if the groove widens out. The second lane seemed productive when we rubbered it in during the test, but this weekend will be a little different. Our Instacoat Premium Products team has had a great short track package lately and I’m excited for this weekend. We’ve obviously had some great results and we want to keep that going. It’s another great opportunity for our team, for sure, but we need to execute the full weekend to put our Instacoat Chevrolet up front.”

McAnally Hilgemann Racing PR

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