NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Date/Broadcast: Sept. 13, 2019 at 9 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to Know
- This week the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Series is off to Sin City and Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the World of Westgate 200 on Friday night. 18-year-old Christian Eckes will return to the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra for the 134-lap event. The young driver has not made a start in any series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and this will be his first start on a 1.5-mile track in the Gander Trucks Series.
- Most recently, Eckes piloted the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra at Michigan International Speedway where he finished 15th after starting on the front row, after a late race spin resulting from tire issues. In five Gander Trucks starts this season, Eckes has posted one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes with an average start of 6.8 and an average finish of 12.2.
- The young driver also has 17 ARCA Racing Series starts this year with three wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 5.4. Despite missing one race earlier this season due to illness, he currently sits second in the championship standings, seventy points behind his Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self. Eckes will be pulling double duty this weekend, racing in the Truck Series at Las Vegas Friday night and the ARCA Racing Series event at Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Saturday night.
- North of the border in the Gander Truck Series’ last outing, Canadian road course ace Alex Tagliani earned a runner-up finish in the No. 51 CanTorque Tundra. After two races in the Round of 8, the No. 51 team is ranked third in the owner’s points standings with 2102 markers, 18 above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 6. The No. 51 team, which has earned five wins with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel and one win with veteran driver Greg Biffle at Texas Motor Speedway, will looking to bring home the organization’s seventh owner’s title. Overall across 18 starts the No. 51 team has two poles, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
- Veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle leads the No. 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, 67 top-five and 103 top-10 finishes across his 131 races calling the shots for the organization. In seven starts in Sin City, Fugle’s drivers have one win, owner-driver Kyle Busch in the spring of this season, three top-five and four top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 6.6 and an average finish of 9.1.
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Christian Eckes, Driver Q&A
Are you looking forward to getting back in the No. 51 Tundra?
“Yeah absolutely. Every time I show up with the 51 team we seem to have a lot of speed. That aspect I’m really looking forward to, and hopefully we have the same speed that we’ve had the previous races and can finally be able to put together a whole race.”
Since you haven’t been to this track before, what are you doing to prepare?”
“Just the normal stuff. Film and notes, and I spent a lot of time at the simulator a couple weeks ago, so I’m pretty prepared. It seems like a really fun track and you’re able to move around a decent amount, so I look forward to the race and look forward to having some fun with the SiriusXM Tundra.”
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. Overall in nine Gander Trucks starts since making his series debut last June, he has recorded 96 laps led, one top-five and five top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 7.6 and average finish of 12.8.
- Eckes has recorded three wins, two poles, 343 laps led, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes across 17 ARCA Racing Series starts in 2019. His first victory this year came in May at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and his most recent victory came at the end of August on the dirt at DuQuoin State Fairgrounds, where he led 91 of 100 laps.
- Overall in 43 career ARCA Series starts, Eckes has posted six wins, four poles, 1037 laps led, 20 top-five and 32 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.3.
- 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-058: The No. 51 SiriusXM team will unload chassis KBM-058 for Friday’s World of Westgate 200. This chassis has two starts, with one win by owner-driver Kyle Busch earlier this season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Eckes also piloted this Tundra to a fourth-place finish at Pocono Raceway in July.
- KBM drivers have earned three wins, 418 laps led, eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 12.4 across 27 starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
- Erik Jones earned the organization’s first victory at Las Vegas in September of 2014, and owner-driver Kyle Busch drove his way to Victory Lane in the March events in 2018 and 2019.
- 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).
- The No. 51 is the winningest number in the KBM stable with 30 trips to victory lane in Gander Trucks action.