Christian Eckes scored his best-ever finish at Pocono Raceway (PA) in May, finishing third during the ARCA Menards Series’ first trip of the season to the “Tricky Triangle.” Eckes hopes to carry that strong run into this weekend, where he will compete in ARCA’s return to Pocono as well as the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series event.
Eckes’ ARCA efforts at Pocono earlier this year were much improved from his 2018 results, where he finished 13thand 11thin the pair of races at the unique facility. A better-handling car and fewer mechanical issues led to stronger results for the New York native.
“It’s such a place that requires almost a lot of car, compared to driver,” Eckes said. “Getting a handle on what you need, stuff like that, definitely helped. We had no brakes there last year, so that played into consideration. I’m really looking forward to getting back to Pocono.
“Especially driving into turn one, you need those brakes,” Eckes added. “It was a little sketchy. Hopefully it won’t be as bad this time.”
Eckes also carries plenty of confidence into his appearance for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series, his third race of the 2019 season in the series. Not only has Eckes gained knowledge and experience at Pocono, but KBM has an undefeated track record at the circuit over the last four years.
Two of those wins (William Byron in 2016 and Christopher Bell in 2017) have been with Rudy Fugle atop the pit box, who will be working with Eckes this weekend.
“I feel really good,” Eckes said. “Rudy always brings fast trucks. KBM as a whole has won or had the best truck at least the past four or five years. Hopefully I can take that fast Tundra and put it in victory lane.”
The weekend will also be a big one for the ARCA championship chase as it continues into the late summer. Eckes gained marginally on Venturini Motorsports teammate and points leader Michael Self with a second-place finish last weekend at Iowa Speedway (IA).
“We’re getting down to crunch time,” he said. “There’s only six races left. It’s going to be crucial. We have enough speed to do it. It’s almost a little frustrating that, you take Elko out of the picture, we’d only be about 65 out. We’ve just got to take it how it is and hopefully have a good race at Pocono.”
With two fast vehicles going into the weekend, Eckes likes his chances to compete for a pair of wins.
“Honestly, I feel like I have a good shot to win both races,” he said. “We had a lot of speed in June, and Rudy’s trucks have always been extremely fast at Pocono.”
For more on Christian Eckes, visit https://www.christianeckesracing.com.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo