Rising stock car star Christian Eckes returns this weekend to one of his favorite motorsports venues. However, it will be a very busy Saturday for the former Snowball Derby winner.
Eckes will compete with both the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and the ARCA Menards Series on Saturday, June 22 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (IL). Eckes competed with both series at Gateway in 2018, but the events were on separate days on the same weekend last year. Now, he will tackle both races in one day.
“There’s a lot of hard work by everybody involved,” Eckes told Speed51 about the preparation for Saturday’s double-duty effort. “I think the biggest thing is the hydration and nutrition aspect. A lot of people have helped me out a lot. It’s a pretty good plan so far, I hope it works out. It’s different from anything I’ve done in the past, but we’re looking forward to seeing what happens.”
Despite the daunting challenge, Eckes has plenty of reasons to be excited about returning to the 1.25-mile egg-shaped oval in Madison, Illinois. During last year’s visit, Eckes collected a fourth-place finish in the ARCA race after leading 36 laps. In one of his four Truck Series starts of 2018, Eckes tallied a stage win and led 34 laps before a late-race incident took him out of contention.
“I honestly think that Gateway is one of my favorite tracks, as far as that aspect goes,” he stated. “We unloaded, had a ton of speed, and it’s a place I grew to in a big way. It’s definitely exciting being back in the truck in general, but being in the truck at one of your favorite places is something to look forward to.”
While the Truck Series appearance is one of a select handful for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2019, Eckes competes full-time with the ARCA Menards Series in the Venturini Motorsports No. 15. Last weekend, he was in contention for the win at Madison International Speedway (WI) before a spin in the closing laps relegated him to a seventh-place finish.
“It wasn’t good, for sure,” Eckes said. “I just gave it all I had. It was a little bit too much. We had a car fast enough to win at the end, but I made a mistake and it cost us. We’re moving on, going to Gateway looking for a little bit of redemption.”
While there will be plenty of challenges for the weekend, Eckes is confident his equipment in both races should be good enough to give him two chances to win on Saturday.
“We’re looking for a good run,” he said. “You can never know what will happen, but I know everyone’s putting their full effort in. I think we’ll have a shot at both. I look forward to everything going on, and hopefully we won’t make too many mistakes. If we don’t, we’ll have a shot at ending up in victory lane.”
For more information on Christian Eckes, visit www.christianeckesracing.com.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo