Christian Eckes scored his second-straight runner-up result at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 19 BlueDEF Platinum / NAPA Nightvision Chevrolet Silverado RST earned the second-most points of all drivers in the field (46) and tallied his second consecutive top-10 finish. After 12 races, Eckes maintains the sixth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings and moved within 36 markers of the points lead.
Eckes laid down the third-fastest lap in qualifying on Friday evening and started from the inside of the second row. The two-time winner this season challenged for the race lead and held serve among the top three throughout the majority of Stage 1. A caution on lap 29 jumbled the running order as Eckes and many of the front-runners pitted for four tires and fuel before the end of the stage at lap 35. Eckes restarted 12th for a one-lap run to close out Stage 1 and picked off five positions to earn four points in seventh position at the completion of lap 35.
Eckes restarted the second stage in third on lap 43 and reported the balance of his Chevrolet had improved, thanks to ample chassis adjustments called by crew chief Charles Denike. Eckes ran inside the top three until a restart on lap 61. He made a quick bid for the lead, but contact from tight racing relegated him back to fourth. He held that position until the Stage 2 caution on lap 70 and collected seven points.
The No. 19 team’s second pit stop of the day came under the stage caution, but Eckes restarted 18th on lap 77 as many other competitors stayed out to flip-flop track position. The raw speed and aggressiveness Eckes displayed helped him knife through the field and rejoin the top 10 by lap 97. The New Yorker made his final stop under a caution on lap 125 and restarted 14th as the field split once more with various strategies. Eckes continued to flex his muscle by slicing back through the field up to sixth by lap 142. He restarted sixth on a restart with six laps remaining and took the second spot as the two leaders crashed in front of him. He held the runner-up position on an overtime restart to secure a second-place finish, and his fourth top-five finish of the season.
“There were a lot of times we shouldn’t have finished second,” Eckes said. “Obviously wish we could have won there, but I’m proud of the fight today. I thought we’d be a little better. We struggled with a couple things today, but we stayed with it throughout the race and had enough speed in our BlueDEF Platinum / NAPA Nightvision Chevy that we were able to get back towards the front. We would have liked to be one spot better, but we’ll take the points, another top-five, and move on.”
Start / Finish: 3 / 2
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 389 pts. (-36)
Next Race: Friday, June 23, Nashville Superspeedway
How to Watch or Listen: 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM