Date: Aug. 21, 2020
Event: KDI Office Technology 200 (Race 13 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Dover (Del.) International Speedway (one-mile oval)
Format: Three Stages; 45 laps/45 laps/110 laps
Start/Finish: 9th/11th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Winner: Zane Smith of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes started from the ninth position after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race on the road course at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
- On the initial start of the race he moved up one position to eighth and remained there when the competition caution waved on Lap 20. The Toyota Racing Development product radioed to his crew that his Safelite Tundra “was a little free to start but was getting closer to neutral.”
- The talented teenager would again gain a spot on the ensuing restart and remained in the seventh spot until Stage One came to completion on Lap 45.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes communicated to championship crew chief Rudy Fugle that he “need more stability on entry but exit is good,” before hitting pit road for four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
- The No. 18 Toyota would line up ninth when Stage Two went green on Lap 52. With another strong restart, the New York native jumped up to the seventh spot by the time the field crossed the stripe and as the run went along continued to move forward.
- Eckes cracked the top five on Lap 73 and captured the fourth spot on Lap 82. As he was looking to pass KBM teammate Chandler Smith for the third position a lap truck was in the middle of the track and both he and Smith went to maneuver around the lap truck at the same time and made contact. Smith went spinning bringing out the caution and ending Stage Two prematurely with the Eckes scored in the third position. The contact also caused minor damage to the nose of Eckes’ Safelite Tundra.
Final Stage Recap:
- The Safelite Tundra lined up second on the inside lane when the Final Stage went green on Lap 96. The talented teenager continued his display of strong restarts, taking the lead into Turn 1 and holding it until getting caught up in traffic on Lap 129.
- Eckes fell back to the third position with just over 50 laps remaining and reported that suddenly his engine was shutting off momentarily and then would re-fire seconds later.
- The top-two trucks pitted, leaving the Safelite Tundra out front for two laps before Fugle summoned Eckes to pit road under green-flag conditions on Lap 164. The Safelite Tundra would get just fresh right-side tires and enough fuel to make it to the end of the race before exiting pit road.
- When stops had cycled through, the 19-year-old rookie was scored in the sixth position. Ten laps later as the engine continue to sputter, Eckes had fallen back to the eighth position, and with 10 laps remaining, he was in 11th and went a lap down to the leader. Shortly after, the caution flew with Eckes being awarded the free pass and getting his lap back.
- After a trip down pit road, the Safelite Tundra lined up 11th for the restart with three laps remaining and would end the race in the same position.
Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
How did your race go today?
“The Safelite Tundra was really good today – led a bunch of laps and ran top three for most of the race. Had some motor issues there at the end – engine kept shutting off going down the straightaways. Have to go back to the lab and figure that out. Overall, it was a good day execution wise – we haven’t had one of those in a while. It’s good to build on and we are going to one of my favorite tracks in World Wide Technology Raceway Park next week, so looking forward to getting back with my Safelite team then and keep building towards the end of the year.”
KDI Office Technology 200 Recap:
- Zane Smith picked up his second career Gander Trucks victory finishing 0.989 seconds ahead of runner-up finisher Matt Crafton. Brett Moffitt, Todd Gilliland, and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top-five.
- The race featured five cautions for a total of 27 laps. There were 13 lead changes among 10 drivers, including Eckes who led twice for 34 laps.
How Eckes’ KBM Teammates Fared:
- Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 19th
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 20th
Gander Trucks Championship Standings:
Eckes, the rookie of the year candidate, moved up two positions to third in the Gander Trucks point standings. With three races remaining in the regular season, he sits 65 tallies behind points leader Austin Hill. The driver of the Safelite Tundra sits seventh on the 10-driver playoff grid, 72 points above the bubble.
Eckes will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Sunday, Aug. 30 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at noon ET.