Date: Aug. 10, 2019
Event: Corrigan Oil 200 (Race 16 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn (Two-mile oval)
Format: Three Segments; 20 laps/20 laps/60 laps
Start/Finish: 2nd/15th (Running, completed 105 of 105 laps)
Winner: Austin Hill of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota)
Christian Eckes persevered through a difficult day at Michigan International Speedway to earn a 15th-place finish in the Corrigan Oil 200. On Friday evening, Eckes posted the eighth-fastest time in first practice and the fastest time in second practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. During one round of single-truck qualifying, Eckes piloted his No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra to a front row starting spot.
The green flag for the 100-lap event flew on Saturday afternoon, and Eckes rolled off second. He fell back slightly, but maintained a top-five position. He finished the first stage in third, but spun halfway through the second stage. The team was able to make repairs, but continued to have tire problems, resulting in two more spins. Eckes salvaged a 15th-place finish after spinning on lap 96.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes qualified the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra on the front row after one lap of single-truck qualifying.
- The young driver maintained a top-five position throughout the first stage, finishing third.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought Eckes to pit road for fuel only following the first stage.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes began the second stage in fourth, but began to fall back.
- On lap 34, Eckes spun while battling another vehicle for position and brought out the caution flag.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought the teenager to pit road for repairs and fresh tires
- Eckes finished the stage in 25th.
Stage Three Recap:
- After crew chief Rudy Fugle brought the No. 51 to pit road for two tires and repairs, Eckes started the final stage in 28th, one lap down.
- Thanks to a subsequent caution flag, Eckes was able to take the “lucky dog” free pass, and get back on the lead lap.
- The young driver began to march toward the front of the field, and was back inside the top-10 by lap 69.
- Unfortunately, due to damage suffered in the first incident, Eckes battled tire problems and his right rear tire went flat on lap 84 after he’d worked his way into the sixth position, and he spun.
- A few laps later, Eckes had another tire problem and brought out another caution flag.
- After restarting in 24th, Eckes made up nine positions as the race went into overtime, and he finished in the 15th position.
How did your day go?
“It was a tough day. We had a really fast SiriusXM Tundra. Even after we spun there in the beginning we were able to drive back through the field and make it to fifth or sixth before we started blowing tires. From there it just put us behind, and we were never able to recover. We had a super-fast Tundra, and you know, the tire deal kind of started off from me. There’s lots to be learned from this and I’m just looking forward to Las Vegas next with this team.”
Corrigan Oil 200 Recap:
- Austin Hill won the race with Sheldon Creed, Tyler Dippel, Brett Moffitt and Austin Wayne Self rounding out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured 8 cautions for 35 laps and 17 lead change among 10 drivers.
How Eckes’ KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished 11th
Gander Trucks Owner Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the 16th race of the season ranked fourth on the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Owners Playoff Grid.
Chandler Smith will return to the No. 51 Tundra next week at Bristol Motor Speedway Speedway, on Thursday, August 15. Live coverage of the UNOH 200 presented by Ohio Logistics begins at 8:30 p.m. EST on FS1.