Date: July 27, 2019
Event: Gander RV 150 (Race 14 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 15 laps/15 laps/30 laps
Start/Finish: 13th/4th (Running, completed 60 of 60 laps)
Winner: Ross Chastain of Niece Motorsports (Chevrolet)
In just his seventh NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start, Christian Eckes earned his first career top-five finish with a fourth-place finish at Pocono Raceway. On Friday morning, Eckes posted the fifth-fastest time in first practice and the sixth-fastest time in second practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Friday afternoon, Eckes left victory lane after winning the ARCA Menards Series race to qualify his No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra, and earned the 13th starting position.
Drivers strapped in for 60 laps on Saturday afternoon and Eckes quickly began to move toward the front. At the end of the first stage, Eckes had made it to the seventh position, and as the laps wound down he climbed into the top five and took the checkered flag in fourth.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes qualified the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra in the 13th position.
- After several cautions in the opening laps, Eckes worked his way into the top-10 by lap 8.
- He reported that his Tundra was chattering tight and hard to turn in the center and exit of the corners.
- At the end of the first 15-lap stage, Eckes was seventh.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle elected to stay out following the stage.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes began the second stage in sixth.
- Eckes remained in the top-10 for the second stage, pitting under green on lap 27 for four tires and a small repair to the left front, which was damaged from contact with another vehicle.
- Eckes finished the second stage in the 22nd position after short-pitting.
Stage Three Recap:
- After the rest of the field pit, Eckes started the final 30-lap stage in the fourth position.
- The young driver remained in the top-five and attempted to challenge for the lead in closing laps, but ultimately he would cross the finish line in fourth.
- This was Eckes’ first top-five finish in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Finished with the win yesterday, and a solid top-five today. Talk about your Pocono experience.
“It’s a little frustrating, having a truck that good and not be able to win with it. Just kind of lost a lot of long run speed there. Overall, it was a great week. First and fourth. We will take this momentum and move on to Eldora and Michigan with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) boys.”
Gander RV 150 Recap:
- Ross Chastain won the race with Tyler Ankrum, Harrison Burton, Christian Eckes and Brett Moffitt rounding out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured four cautions for 12 laps and three lead changes among two drivers.
How Eckes’ KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished third
Gander Trucks Owner Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the 14th race of the season ranked first in the Truck Series Owner’s Championship Standings, nine markers ahead of second place, No. 98.
Christian Eckes will return to the No. 51 Tundra this week at Eldora Raceway, on Thursday, August 1. Live coverage of the Eldora Dirt Derby begins at 9:00 p.m. EST on FS1.