Date: Sept. 13, 2019
Event: World of Westgate 200 (Race 19 of 23)
Series: NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series
Location: Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile tri-oval)
Format: Three Segments; 30 laps/30 laps/74 laps
Start/Finish: 1st/3rd (Running, completed 134 of 134 laps)
Winner: Austin Hill of Hattori Racing Enterprises (Toyota)
Christian Eckes added to his already impressive list of accomplishments with his second pole and second top-five finish in just 10 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. On Friday morning, Eckes was ninth-fastest in the single, two-hour Gander Trucks practice. In the afternoon, Eckes blasted a lap of 30.324 seconds, 178.077 mph to earn his second pole position in 10 series’ starts and fourth pole in a row at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
At the start of the race, Eckes jumped out front for three laps, but then dropped back on the first restart on lap 14. The young driver finished the first stage in 11th. He was able to climb back into the top-10 in the second stage, finishing in sixth. In the final stage, Eckes worked his way into the top-five and remained there, finishing third, his second top-five in six starts in 2019.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes earned his second career pole position and started the 134-lap event from the point.
- The New York-native led four laps early in the race, but then reported that the SiriusXM Tundra was extremely loose and the right rear tire felt slick.
- Eckes finished the first stage in 11th.
- Crew chief Rudy Fugle brought Eckes to pit road following the first stage for two right-side tires and adjustments, gaining six spots on pit road.
Stage Two Recap:
- After stopping for just two tires between stages, Eckes gained track position and was able to restart the second stage in fourth.
- He reported that the No. 51 Tundra was better, and completed the second stage in sixth.
- Fugle brought him to pit road for four tires and fuel following the second stage, but a quick stop gained Eckes three positions.
Stage Three Recap:
- Eckes began the final stage in second, but he was shuffled back to eighth on a restart early in the stage.
- Under caution on lap 80, Fugle brought him to pit road for two more fresh tires, gaining him one spot.
- The talented teenager was able to climb back into the top-five within five laps, where he remained in third, challenging for second-place in the closing laps.
- Eckes finished third, earning his second top-five and sixth top-10 finish in 10 career Gander Trucks starts.
How was your race?
“It went pretty well. There were some mistakes here-and-there that cost us a shot at better track position. Lots to be learned. We had a pretty fast Tundra overall. Now we can move on to Martinsville and Homestead with a little momentum with a pole and a third. Overall, a good night, but definitely something to improve on.”
World of Westgate 200 Recap:
- Austin Hill won the race with Ross Chastain, Christian Eckes, Sheldon Creed and Todd Gilliland rounding out the top-five finishers.
- The race featured six cautions for 32 laps and 21 lead changes among five drivers.
How Eckes’ KBM Teammates Fared:
Harrison Burton, driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra, finished ninth
Gander Trucks Owner Championship Standings:
The No. 51 team leaves the 19th race of the season ranked fourth in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Owner’s Playoff Standings. The No. 51 has earned six wins, 12 top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes in 2019, recording an average starting position of 8.5 and an average finish of 6.6.
Riley Herbst is scheduled to pilot the No. 51 Tundra at Talladega Superspeedway when the Gander Trucks Series returns on Saturday, Oct. 12. Live coverage of the event begins at 1:30 p.m. EST on FS1.