After two races, Christian Eckes leads the ARCA Menards Series points standings with a pair of top-five finishes. Now, the Greenville, New York driver looks to take the next step in his 2019 season with a victory.
Eckes is pleased with his performance in the No. 15 Venturini Motorsports entry but is ready to progress from top-five finishes at Daytona International Speedway and Five Flags Speedway to victory lane down the road.
“I think it’s going pretty well so far,” Eckes told Speed51. “Obviously we want to win and we want to do better than we are already. Kevin and the guys have prepared really good race cars. We just lack a little bit here. Especially at Pensacola, it felt like we needed to be better. We found out what we needed to be better. Obviously, we’re looking for more but it’s still a great start to the season.”
Eckes chalks up part of the early-season progress to getting back into midseason form.
“Really, it’s just the start of the season,” Eckes said. “You have such a long time off, you kind of lose what you need to do. Just getting used to Kevin [Reed, crew chief] again and getting all the guys together again, it just comes down to we need to do our jobs better. Pensacola, we had a really good test. We came back for the race, and we really weren’t happy with our performance. We need to test better, we need to practice better. Hopefully that will fix the problems that we had.”
The next race on the ARCA Menards Series calendar could be the place for Eckes to pick up that first win of 2019. ARCA returns to action at Salem Speedway, the site of Eckes’ first career ARCA win.
“It’s really exciting to go back to Salem,” Eckes stated. “At this point, it’s another opportunity for me. We really want to win and I think we have a team capable of winning. That’s just the next race on the list to be able to go and compete for a win.”
Eckes started the season with a fourth-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. He struggled at times during the Five Flags Speedway event, but recovered and persevered for a third-place finish.
As a result, Eckes leads the ARCA Menards Series points standings by 65 points over Travis Braden. Eckes noted the importance of fighting through the issues at Five Flags to maintain the points lead.
“Championship-wise, we did a great job at Pensacola rebounding” he commented. “There were times during the race I was just hoping for a top-ten, and we came home third. We really should have finished second at the end. As a whole, I think we did a great job as far as that, and I think we’ll continue to do that throughout the year.”
The third race of the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season will take place at Salem Speedway in Salem, Indiana on April 14. It will also mark the second stop on the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge schedule.
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51.com photo