NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Location: World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: June 22, 2019 at 10 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to Know
- This weekend, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series travels to World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway in Madison, Ill. for the CarShield 200 presented by CK Power. Christian Eckes will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). Eckes has one start at the 1.25-mile facility in 2018, when he started second and led 34 laps, but was involved in a wreck that ended his day on lap 76. Eckes will also be racing in Saturday’s ARCA Racing Series event at the Illinois track. He started second and finished fourth in last year’s ARCA Series race at Gateway.
- Eckes’ last start for KBM was in February at Daytona International Speedway where he captured the pole, but was caught up in an on-track incident on lap 62 and was unable to continue. The 18-year-old has five total Gander Trucks starts, with one pole and three top-10 finishes.
- Eckes will make five additional Gander Trucks starts this season for KBM in the No. 51 Toyota Tundra. He will climb behind the wheel at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway July 27, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., Aug. 10, Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway Sept. 13, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway Oct. 26 and the season finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
- Veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle leads 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 28 wins, 22 poles, 62 top-five and 98 top-10 finishes across his 121 races calling the shots for the organization. Fugle’s drivers have four starts at Gateway with, two top 10 finishes, an average start of 2.5 and an average finish of 14.0.
- After 10 races in 2019, the No. 51 team leads the owner’s points standings by 18 markers over second place. The team has earned six wins with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel for five of those and veteran driver Biffle earning the most recent one at Texas Motor Speedway. The team has two poles, seven top-five and eight top-10 finishes.
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Christian Eckes, Driver Q&A
Talk about your experience last year at Gateway.
“I honestly felt like last year we had a shot to win the race. Unfortunately, we got taken out in Stage 3. We won Stage 2 and had a really good truck. I’m really just looking forward to getting back with these 51 guys. They’ve won six races so far with me out of the seat, and we’re ready to go make it number seven this weekend.”
What’s your favorite part about racing at Gateway?
“It’s a lot of different variables that go on. Last year they put the resin on the outside groove and [the race track] kind of changed the whole practice, qualifying and the race. It’s kind of cool to go to a racetrack like that.”
Christian Eckes Career Highlights
- In February, Eckes earned his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series pole at Daytona International Speedway in just his fifth series start.
- Eckes has recorded one win, one pole, 129 laps led, five top-five and eight top-10 finishes across nine ARCA Racing Series starts in 2019. His victory this year came in May at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
- Overall in 36 career ARCA Series starts, Eckes has posted four wins, three poles, 823 laps led, 15 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.9.
- 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 Tundra:
KBM-24: The No. 51 SiriusXM Racing team will unload KBM-24 for Saturday’s CarShield 200 at World Wide Technology Raceway. Eckes qualified second and led 34 laps with the same Tundra in last year’s race at Gateway. The Toyota has won three times across 14 careers starts; twice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Christopher Bell, 2017 and William Byron, 2016) and once at ISM Raceway (Erik Jones, 2014).
- KBM drivers have 16 starts at Gateway and have earned two wins, four top-five and nine top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 7.2 and an average finish of 13.4.
- Darrell Wallace Jr. earned the first win for KBM at Gateway in 2014 and Christopher Bell won in 2016.
- KBM holds the Gander Truck Series records for most career wins (74) 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).