15-year-old Christian Eckes is headed to the 71-year-old Columbus Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 2 for his fourth-career start in a stock car in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Napa 150.
After scoring two top-10 finishes in his first three stock car starts, Eckes is starting to feel more confident behind the wheel of the heavy vehicles.
“I thought that it would take some time to get used to the bigger stock cars like this, but it seems to be going well so far,” said Eckes, who also pilots a Late Model Stock Car for JR Motorsports and a Super Late Model for LFR. “We have shown we’ve had speed, but we just haven’t had very good luck in the races.”
Eckes had a car capable of winning in his last ARCA Racing Series start at Wisconsin’s Madison International Speedway before drivetrain issues brought his race to a halt just past the halfway mark. Even though the finish wasn’t what he was looking for, his performance has him thinking that a win might be coming soon.
“I’m surely starting to think about wins in these stock cars,” he said. “We had such a fast car at Madison, and we honestly thought it was a race winning car. But, in all reality, for this race in particular, I’m hoping for a top-five. I think that as a team, after Dominion (first start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East), we’ve improved tremendously. The LFR guys have put a lot of effort into our car for this race.”
The New York native said his previous starts between K&N and ARCA, as well as a test session at Columbus last week, have him the most prepared he’s been to this date.
“I feel really good going into Columbus,” said Eckes. “We had tested there last week and thought that we had a good car. The ARCA and K&N starts have helped me tremendously as far as understanding the cars, so I’m excited to get to Columbus.”
Last year’s K&N East race at Columbus saw a driver score his first series victory, and now Eckes is in position to do the same. However, Columbus is closing for good at the end of the 2016 season, so Eckes could become the final K&N East winner at the historic Ohio oval. While Eckes said that would be cool, the win would be even cooler for a different reason.
“My crew chief (Ron Otto) grew up racing at this track,” Eckes explained. “So it would be even cooler for him I’m sure and it’d be awesome to do that for him.”
Eckes will hit the track for the first practice session on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Final practice is scheduled to begin at 3:15 p.m. and will go until 4 p.m. Eckes will qualify at 6:30 p.m., with the Napa 150 green flag set to wave at approximately 9 p.m. ET on Saturday night. Race fans will have the chance to meet Eckes during the schedule autograph session at 8 p.m., just prior to the green flag.
For more on Christian Eckes, visit www.christianeckesracing.com, and be sure to follow him on Twitter, @ChristianEckes.
-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com