NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Overview
Location: Martinsville (Va.) Speedway (0.526-mile oval)
Date/Broadcast: Oct. 26, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90
What You Need to Know
- Christian Eckes climbs back behind the wheel of the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra this weekend at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway for his seventh NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start of the 2019 season. The young driver has one start at the famed half-mile in the fall of 2018, where he started 12th and finished ninth.
- Last week at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Eckes wrapped up the 2019 ARCA Menards Series championship despite missing a race due to illness with four wins, two poles, 400 laps led, 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes in 19 starts. He recorded an average starting position of 5.3 and an average finish of 6.9.
- Most recently, Eckes piloted the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra at Las Vegas Motor Speedway where he won the pole and finished third. In six Gander Trucks starts this season, Eckes has posted two poles, two top-five and three top-10 finishes with an average start of 5.8 and an average finish of 10.7.
- In the Gander Truck Series’ last outing at Talladega Superspeedway, Riley Herbst picked up the fourth top-three finish in four races for the 51 team with a third-place result. After one race in the Round of 6, the No. 51 team is ranked third in the owner’s points standings with 3054 markers, 10 above the cutoff line for advancing to the final round. 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, is looking to bring home the organization’s seventh owner’s title. Overall across 20 starts the No. 51 team has three poles, 13 top-five and 15 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, 23 poles, 69 top-five and 105 top-10 finishes across his 133 races calling the shots for the organization. At Martinsville, Fugle’s drivers have recorded 12 starts, with one win by owner-driver Kyle Busch earlier this season, five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
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Christian Eckes, Driver Q&A
What are you looking forward to this weekend?
“I’m looking forward to getting back to Martinsville. I was able to make a start there last year and learned a lot for this year’s race. I’m excited to get back with [crew chief] Rudy Fugle and the No. 51 SiriusXM team.”
Is some of the pressure off now that you’ve wrapped up the ARCA title?
“I wouldn’t say the pressure is off. I still have a lot of pressure on myself to go out and win in the Truck Series this season. But I have a great team behind me and I’m really looking forward to the next two races I have with them.”
Christian Eckes Career Highlights
- Overall in 10 Gander Trucks starts since making his series debut last June, he has recorded two poles, 100 laps led, two top-five and six top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 6.9 and average finish of 11.8.
- Crowned the ARCA Menards Series champion in 2019 after recording four wins, two poles, 400 laps led, 13 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes across 19 ARCA Racing Series starts, missing one race due to illness. His first victory this year came in May at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn., and his most recent victory came at Kansas Speedway last week, where he also clinched the championship.
- Overall in 46 career ARCA Series starts, Eckes has posted seven wins, four poles, 1094 laps led, 23 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 6.9.
- 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 SiriusXM Tundra:
KBM-038: The No. 51 SiriusXM team will unload chassis KBM-038 which has been piloted to victory lane six times in 15 starts, most recently by owner-driver Kyle Busch at Martinsville earlier this season. Noah Gragson has one win at Kansas in the chassis, Christopher Bell raced it to three wins and William Byron won once at Homestead-Miami Speedway in KBM-038.
- KBM drivers have earned seven wins and four poles at the famed paperclip-shaped facility in 51 starts, as well as 21 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 8.5.
- Denny Hamlin owns the first two Martinsville victories for KBM in the fall races in 2011 and 2012, while Bubba Wallace captured the next two in the fall races in 2013 and 2014. Owner-driver Kyle Busch also has two wins for KBM, in the spring races of 2016 and 2019 and Noah Gragson earned a win in the fall race of 2017.
- 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