Christian Eckes will embark on his first full ARCA Racing Series season this weekend when he straps into the No. 15 JBL Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports at Daytona International Speedway (FL). Eckes will be making his superspeedway debut after scoring three ARCA victories in 2018.
"It means a lot to finally run full-time in the ARCA Racing Series with Venturini Motorsports," Eckes said. "It's been tough over the last few years with the age requirement not being able to run some of the race tracks. Going into a new season now, I've been to most of the short tracks twice or even three times. That will be better than starting fresh, but in the same aspect going to the mile-and-a-half race tracks is definitely going to be a challenge and something I'll need to work on to contend for the championship."
Eckes' first challenge awaits him this weekend when he races on one of the biggest stages in all of motorsports at Daytona. For someone who grew up in Middletown, New York, racing at the 2.5-mile tri-oval is a dream come true and something that he's looking forward to.
"For the most part, I haven't really been able to do a lot of superspeedway racing. I've tested a few times but as far as racing it will be my first time. I'll get to come back next week and try it all over again in a truck with Kyle Busch Motorsports. It's going to be a fun two weeks here in Daytona. I'm just really looking forward to getting there with my Sirius XM Tundra and JBL Camry."
To prepare for his first superspeedway start, Eckes has been putting in countless hours of preparation to be the best he can be when the green flag waves. Still, he knows that there will still be a lot that he can learn once the race begins on Saturday, February 9.
"I've tested a few time but it really hasn't given me the best example yet. It's going to be a lot different in the race," he acknowledged. "I've just been watching film, iRacing with my buddies and stuff like that trying to get a feel for it. But it's really just going to take time and experience behind the wheel. I don't think I'll fully understand it until we finally get to race. After the ARCA race, I feel like I'll have a much better understanding coming back the following week with the truck."
In addition to striving for success at Daytona, Eckes has a long-term goal of contending for the ARCA Racing Series championship in 2019. Although it's early in the season, he knows that a strong performance on Saturday could put him in a good position to chase that goal for the remainder of the season.
"Every race means a lot as far as points in this series, and Daytona is no short of that," Eckes stated. "The last champion, one of them won the race and the other finished third or something like that. Basically, just finishing these races is the biggest thing. You can't lose too many points. That's going to be our main goal; just to finish."
The Lucas Oil 200 for the ARCA Racing Series at Daytona International Speedway will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 at 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, February 9.
In addition to a full-season ARCA campaign with Venturini Motorsports, Eckes will be running seven NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2019.
For more information on Christian Eckes, visit www.christianeckesracing.com.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor - Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com