Christian Eckes closed out the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) playoffs with a 20th-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS). The driver of the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Chevrolet narrowly missed the cut to the championship finale by just four markers. Eckes and company can finish as high as fifth in the point standings in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway.
Eckes began his fourth HMS appearance from 10th position and employed his familiar aggressive style to advance to fourth on the opening lap. He briefly faded to eighth during the opening green flag stint, but his lap times recovered after lap 20. Eckes’ long run speed helped him regain one position and ran seventh at the end of Stage 1 at lap 30 to collect four points.
Crew chief Charles Denike and the Instacoat Premium Products team gave Eckes four tires, fuel, and rear air pressure adjustments under the stage caution to increase rear security in his Chevrolet. A quick pit stop gained Eckes two positions for the restart on lap 40. Eckes’ balance improved during the second segment and consistently ran sixth until a caution flew on lap 53. Most lead lap trucks, including Eckes, pitted for four tries for the ensuing two-lap dash to the stage break. While restarting sixth, Eckes was nabbed for a restart violation and was black flagged. The penalty negated the five points he would have earned while running sixth at the end of Stage 2 at lap 60.
Eckes restarted 24th on lap 68 after serving the penalty and immediately advanced to 15th within two laps. He was running 13th on lap 95 when Denike called him to pit road for his final scheduled pit stop of the afternoon under green. While making his stop, Eckes was tagged for a speeding penalty and relegated him outside the top 25. Over the final 30 circuits, Eckes continued to push forward and took the checkered flag in 21st. Following post-race technical inspection, Eckes was credited with a 20th-place finish.
“Sped on pit road, and pulled out of line.” Eckes said. “We had a truck able to advance and just kept making mistakes. Huge thanks to all of our partners, NAPA Auto Care, Instacoat for coming on these four races this year, Gates Hydraulics, Adaptive One Calipers. Just wasn’t good enough today, myself, not the truck.”
Start / Finish: 10 / 20
Points Standing / Total: 5th / 2,268 pts. (-142)
Next Race: Friday, November 3, Phoenix Raceway
How to Watch or Listen: 10:00 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN or SiriusXM