In a do or die night at Kansas Speedway, Christian Eckes out-duled fellow Venturini Motorsports driver Michael Self and took home the 2019 ARCA Menards Series Title.
The 2016 Snowball Derby winner started in the rear of the field after an engine change earlier in the day, took the lead just before the halfway point in the ARCA Kansas 150, pulled out to more than a two second lead over Self and never looked back.
“It’s so special. It’s so special,“ said Eckes on the Fox Sports Broadcast. “Man, I wasn’t really nervous after qualifying. I was just kind of going to do my deal because I knew we had a fast race car, and man we got the lead there and we drove away. I was getting a little nervous. He was out there banging the boards a little bit, but man this is awesome.”
Eckes, now the 36th champion of the ARCA Menards Series, had his ups and downs all season, but was able to put together a storybook ending, picking up his fourth victory in the process.
Michael Self came into the night the points leader, topping Eckes by 15 points, but that wasn’t enough to lock himself into the championship unless he finished ahead of Eckes.
“It was clean air probably,” said Self on the Fox Sports Broadcast. “He just got a better restart than we did. Clean air is everything on these mile-and-a-half’s, and we didn’t have it.”
When he was asked about the rollercoaster of emotions he’s felt over the day, it really boiled down to one thing, luck.
“It’s just how the year has gone,” Self continued. “Things go good for a while and then you have a mechanical issue or have bad luck or something, and it just kind of crushes you. It’s just unfortunately what put us in the position to be here. I thought we had a really good shot at it tonight. I mean, we did have a good shot at it. He just got a better restart than we did that last one, and that’s what sums up the championship.”
Self will get another shot at the championship in February, 2020 as the ARCA Menards Series starts a new season at Daytona International Speedway.
-Story by: Allick Jorgensen, Speed51 National Correspondent - Twitter: @AJorgensen24
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com