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Eckes Lengthens Points Lead with Top-10 Result at Charlotte

Christian Eckes took an unorthodox path to secure a top-10 finish and extended his points lead on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS). The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST earned a 10th-place finish after persevering through a trying day and now owns a 30-point advantage in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) championship standings after 11 of 16 regular season races.

Eckes was instantly faced with adversity in practice after posting the third-quickest time in the session. He received significant damage to the left side of his Chevrolet after contact from another truck in practice and forced the team to make major repairs. Consequently, Eckes was scrubbed in qualifying and started from the tail of the field. The repairs did not deter Eckes as he targeted the front and rapidly charged forward at the start. He advanced from 35th to 14th by the end of Stage 1 on lap 30, despite simultaneously dealing with a low voltage issue.

Under the first stage caution, crew chief Charles Denike and the NAPA team executed an efficient diagnosis of the situation which was attributed to a disconnected alternator. The team kept Eckes on the lead lap during the pit cycle to make repairs, but he was forced to restart at the tail of the lead lap. Once again, Eckes moved forward and advanced to 20th by the end of Stage 2 on lap 60.

After pitting during the stage break, Eckes also pitted under caution on lap 75. The strategy allowed him to get off sequence with most of the lead lap trucks, and it paid off with a caution on lap 81. As the majority hit pit road, Eckes stayed on track to inherit the fifth position for the lap 88 restart. In his trademark fashion, Eckes wasted no time on the restart and immediately went from fifth to first. He paced the field for 37 laps while in fuel-savings mode until the final caution flew on lap 121. Eckes elected to stay on track in the lead as all but six trucks behind him dove to pit road for fresh tires. Over the final nine laps Eckes did his best to hold off competitors the fresh rubber, but took the checkered flag in 11th position.

Following post-race technical inspection, the No. 11 truck was disqualified and Eckes was credited with a 10th-place finish.

“We had a ton of adversity all day, for sure.” Eckes said. “We put ourselves in position to win the race and needed it to go green to the end for everything to work out like we wanted. It’s unfortunate, but really proud of the effort all these guys showed on our NAPA Auto Care, Black’s Tire Chevrolet. To get this truck repaired and turned around to race with that much speed says a lot about our team. Really proud of that and we’ll try to finish it off at Gateway next week.”

Start / Finish: 35 / 10
Points Standing / Total: 1st / 453 pts. (+30)

Next Race: Saturday, June 1, WWT Raceway
How to Watch or Listen: FOX, MRN or SiriusXM

Christian Eckes: @christianeckes
Bill McAnally Racing / McAnally-Hilgemann Racing: @BMR_NASCAR

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing View All

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing is eyeing a NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) championship in 2024 as the organization has expanded to four full-time entries. Christian Eckes is one of the favorites for the NCTS title and has six victories to his credit since driving the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet in 2023. Eckes is joined by Tyler Ankrum, Daniel Dye, and Jack Wood as the team has their focus fixed on playoff success.

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