Christian Eckes earned his fifth podium result of the season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a third-place performance on Saturday afternoon. The result was Eckes’ best-career road course finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) and his second consecutive top-five finish at Mid-Ohio. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST continues to hold the sixth position in the NCTS drivers’ championship standings with two races remaining in the regular season.
Eckes started fourth after advancing to the final round of qualifying on Friday afternoon. The 67-lap event began amidst steady rainfall from a passing thunderstorm and on wet track conditions. The New Yorker handled the wet conditions and limited visibility well with a cautious approach and maintained his position in the top-five. Eckes efficiently navigated the three restarts that broke up the opening segment to collect six points in fifth position at the end of Stage 1 on lap 20.
During the first stage break, the NAPA Auto Care team put slick tires on Eckes’ Chevrolet as the rain had moved out late in Stage 1. The race restarted on lap 22 under clearing skies and gradually drying track conditions. As the intensity picked up, Eckes continued to be a stalwart in the top-five. He took fourth position by lap 23 and scored another six points in fifth position at the end of Stage 2 on lap 40.
On the final pit stop, crew chief Charles Denike made minor adjustments to improve the rear grip for Eckes and repaired the left front fender. Eckes restarted fifth and took the third position when the third and fourth-place machines made contact and spun off course in Turn 5. Four yellow flags littered the final stage, and the restart on lap 59 restart allowed Eckes to briefly claim the second position. The final restart came with five laps to go on lap 63 and saw Eckes settle into third. He took the checkered flag in third position for his fifth top-three finish of the season.
“Proud of the effort all day by our NAPA Auto Care team,” Eckes said. “It was definitely a big challenge with starting off in the rain, then the track drying out and staying on top of everything as the track changed. We had a really good long run truck today, but just needed a little more. Our team put a strong consistent weekend together. We’ll move on to Pocono and try to get another win there.”
Start / Finish: 4 / 3
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 450 pts. (-80)
Next Race: Saturday, July 22, Pocono Raceway
How to Watch or Listen: 12:00 noon ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM