Date: Oct. 17, 2020
Event: Clean Harbors 200 (Race 20 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Kansas Speedway in Kansas City (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Stages; 30 laps/30 laps/79 laps
Start/Finish: 14th/6th (Running, completed 139 of 139 laps)
Winner: Brett Moffitt of GMS Racing (Chevrolet)
Christian Eckes and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team used pit strategy to try and win the Clean Harbors 200 at Kansas Speedway, but a slow two-tire pit stop left them running fifth in the closing laps. A tangle between the leaders with five laps remaining gave the team another chance, but after lining up on the outside of row two for NASCAR overtime, Eckes got shuffled back and would end the race with a sixth-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes started from the14th position after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
- The Safelite Tundra was strong in the opening laps advancing to seventh in the first three laps. As the opening stanza proceeded caution free, the No. 18 Toyota would gain one more position to finish the segment in the sixth position on Lap 30.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes communicated to veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle that he was “pretty happy” with his Tundra before hitting pit road for four tires and fuel between stages.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the bottom of the fourth row when Stage Two went green on Lap 37. When the second caution of the race occurred two laps later, Eckes was scored in the fifth position.
- After a red-flag period to clean up the carnage from the 10-truck incident, the rookie driver lined up on the bottom of the third row for the ensuing restart on Lap 45.
- After falling back one position on the restart, Eckes was able to gain two positions over the final 10 laps of the stage to come home fourth. Coming to the stripe, he had a lap truck on the inside him and the fifth-place truck to the outside of him and got squeezed between them causing some mild damage to his truck.
Final Stage Recap:
- Fugle ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling of the Safelite Tundra for his young driver.
- Eckes lined up on the inside of the third row when the Final Stage went green on Lap 67. When the field settle in line, the Safelite Tundra was scored in the sixth position on lap 72. After falling back a few positions, he rallied back to the sixth spot when the top-five trucks began to make their final pit stop.
- The No. 18 Toyota inherited the lead for seven laps before Fugle summoned Eckes to pit road for a two-tire stop on lap 113. The over-the-wall crew experienced issues changing the right-front tire which caused for an unusually slow two-tire stop.
- Eckes was scored in the fifth position when pit stops cycled through with 15 laps remaining in the event. The top two trucks made contact, causing Zane Smith to spin and bring out the caution with four laps remaining.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the outside of row two for NASCAR overtime but got shuffled back on the restart and would cross the stripe in the sixth position. The top-10 finish was Eckes’ ninth of the 2020 season.
Christian Eckes, driver of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports:
Another top-10 for you today. How was your run today at Kansas?
“We had a really fast Safelite Tundra, probably really had a shot to win. After we got that damage, just kind of hurt our day. I haven’t really seen a replay yet, but I was kind of a part of it. Just not a lot of room, and two people that were racing hard. I figured the lap car was going to go to the bottom, and I figured Austin (Hill) would give me a little bit of room, but that was not the case. We will move on to Texas.” Y
ou led a ton of laps and came home second in the spring in Texas. How excited are you to get back?
“Texas has always been a place that I really enjoyed going to – whether that be testing or racing. I have one test and one race under my belt now, and almost beat Kyle (Busch) there in the spring, so we are just going to have to do all we can to go be five spots better in Texas.”
Clean Harbors 200 Recap:
- Brett Moffitt picked up his first NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series of 2020 finishing 0.111 seconds ahead of his GMS Racing teammate Sheldon Creed. Austin Hill finished third, while Grant Enfinger and Chandler Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
How Eckes’ KBM Teammates Fared:
- Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fifth
- Raphael Lessard, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished 33rd
Gander Trucks Driver Point Standings:
With three races remaining, Eckes sits ninth in the Gander Trucks point standings.
Eckes will be back behind the wheel of the No. 18 Safelite Tundra when the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series resumes action on Saturday, Oct. 25 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. Live coverage of the SpeedyCash.com 400 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at noon ET.