Christian Eckes delivered his eighth top-10 finish of the season on Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway and extended his streak of consistency. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado has notched four finishes of seventh or better in the last fives races. After 15 of 16 regular season events, Eckes maintains the sixth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series standings.
Eckes was a one-man show at the drop of the green flag as he rapidly sliced through the field after starting at the tail due to a rear gear issued that kept him from making a qualifying attempt on Friday. The New Yorker had immediately advanced up to 23rd by the first caution on lap four. Eckes continued his march forward and ran 11th at the end of Stage 1 on lap 15.
Crew chief Charles Denike employed the proper strategy of staying on track during the stage caution and allowed Eckes to restart eighth. Eckes drove to fifth by lap 24 and came to pit road just three laps later on lap 27 for his only scheduled pit stop of the afternoon. The NAPA Auto Care team armed Eckes with four tires, fuel, and a minor adjustment to help his tight balance on corner exit. The strategy call placed Eckes 27th at the end of Stage 2 on lap 30 but allowed him to regain track position under the caution.
Eckes restarted the final segment fifth on lap 36, but was pinned on the bottom and was briefly shuffled to 11th. The two-time winner this season swiftly regained his momentum and began to advance forward. He regained the seventh position on lap 44 before multi-truck accidents caused two late-race yellows. After restarting eighth on lap 56 with five laps remaining, Eckes gained the seventh position and captured his third top-10 result at Pocono in five starts.
“Our NAPA Auto Care team did a great job after we had the rear gear issue on Friday in practice. This is probably one of the hardest races to come from the back since it’s so short and track position is key. We had the right strategy, but we got caught on the bottom on that one restart after halfway, but we stuck with it and found a way to get back to seventh. We’re getting some more consistency, so we’ll go to Richmond and try to build on this.”
Start / Finish: 35 / 7
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 480 pts. (-89)
Next Race: Saturday, July 29, Richmond Raceway
How to Watch or Listen: 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM