NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval superspeedway)
Date/Broadcast: Feb. 15, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN and Sirius/XM NASCAR 90
What You Need to Know
- Christian Eckes will make seven NGOTS starts this season for KBM in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra. He will climb behind the wheel at the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on Feb. 15, Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. June 22, Pocono (Pa.) Raceway July 27, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Aug. 10, Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway Sept. 13 and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 26 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- Eckes made four NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck (NGOTS) Series starts for KBM in 2018 and recorded 38 laps led and three top-10 finishes with an average starting position of 8.5 and an average finishing position of 13.5.
- In 2018, Eckes made 13 ARCA Racing Series starts with Venturini Motorsports, recording three wins at Salem (Ore.) Speedway, Springfield (Ill.) Speedway and Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park.
- The eighteen-year-old driver competed last weekend in the ARCA Racing Series event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and claimed the pole and finished fourth in his first start on the famous superspeedway.
- Eckes will be paired with veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle, who will lead the 51 team this season. Fugle has guided his team to four Owner’s Championships (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) as a crew chief at KBM, including combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championships with Erik Jones in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. The New York native’s drivers have combined for 22 wins, 20 poles, 57 top-five and 71 top-10 finishes across his 114 races calling the shots for the organization.
Christian Eckes, Driver Q&A
You sat on the pole and finished fourth in the ARCA race last weekend at Daytona, how will that help you in the truck?
Experience in the ARCA Race was really crucial. Even working with [KBM teammates] Harrison [Burton] and Todd [Gilliland] there on the last restart, I think that was crucial as well because it was our first start at Daytona, all of us, and to get that experience before we come back with the trucks is huge. It was my first start at a superspeedway in general, so it definitely provided a lot of aspects that I was unaware of before the race.
Who have you gone to for advice in the garage about Daytona?
Really just my entire team, and our teammates and everything. KBM as a whole has a lot of experience and years throughout the entire Daytona and Talladega scheme. It’s good to be partnered with such a great team and great sponsors like SiriusXM for my upcoming races.
What makes racing at Daytona so special?
You know it’s really rich in history. It’s just kind of another opportunity to me. It’s just another race track in my aspect. I’m really looking forward to getting this opportunity and I’ve got this six after this one and I’m just looking forward to all of them.
Christian Eckes Career Highlights
- The Middletown, N.Y., native collected his first career ARCA Racing Series victory at Salem (Ind.) Speedway last April after leading 72 laps of the 200-lap event, including the final 52 circuits and was also victorious in August on the dirt track at Illinois State Fairground in Springfield and at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. in October.
- Eckes recorded two poles, 420 laps led, six top-five and eight top-10 finishes across 13 ARCA Racing Series starts in 2018. Overall in 27 career ARCA Series starts, Eckes has posted three wins, two poles, 694 laps led, 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.3.
- The talented teenager put his name on the motorsports map when he won the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in December of 2016. The then 15-year-old battled side-by-side with John Hunter Nemechek for the final two laps before narrowly edging him to the finish line. The Snowball Derby win was part of a three-race winning streak in Late Models to close out the 2016 season after the teenager was victorious in the Myrtle Beach 400 Late Model Stock event at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway and the Thanksgiving Classic All-Star Super Late Model race at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C.
Christian Eckes No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra:
KBM Notes of Interest
- Last season the No. 51 team claimed two wins, both with owner-driver Kyle Busch, and is the winningest number in the KBM stable with 24 trips to victory lane in Truck Series action
- KBM holds the NCWTS records for most career wins (68) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
- KBM drivers have collected one win, 48 laps led, four top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 16.6 across 19 starts at Daytona
- Owner-driver Kyle Busch picked up the team’s lone victory at the 2.5-mile tri-oval in dramatic fashion in the 2014 season opener, finishing .016 seconds ahead of fellow Toyota competitor Timothy Peters