Christian Eckes’ run at Nashville Superspeedway resulted in a 23rd-place finish on Friday night after being swept up in a late-race incident less than 10 laps from the finish. The driver of the No. 19 Instacoat Premium Products Chevrolet Silverado RST maintains the sixth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) point standings after 13 of 16 regular season events.
Eckes posted the 14th-fastest lap in time trials on Friday afternoon and took the green flag from row seven. The two-time race winner steadily held position inside the top-15 throughout the entire first stage. During the event’s first long green-flag run, Eckes radioed the team that the Instacoat Premium Products machine handled well and all he lacked was track position. Despite the extreme difficulty to pass, Eckes advanced to 11th by the end Stage 1 on lap 45.
Under the first stage yellow flag, Eckes pitted for four tires, fuel, and a minute adjustment to fine tune his balance on corner exit. He restarted in 10th on lap 54 and put another consistent stint together until the race’s fourth yellow flew 11 laps shy of the second stage on lap 84. The No. 19 squad matched the aggressive pit call of the rest of the field and pitted for four tires and fuel. Eckes restarted 10th on lap 91 and held that position to earn one point at the end of Stage 2 on lap 95.
The final stage began with a frantic restart on lap 103 as Eckes restarted ninth. While racing for a top-10 position, Eckes suffered contact from the No. 5 truck, sending him into a four-wheel slide in Turn 3, and he miraculously kept his Chevrolet straight as an accident ensued behind him. He restarted 20th at the tail of the field after pitting for fresh rubber and immediately progressed forward. After advancing to 14th position, the No. 52 truck spun on exit of Turn 4 and collected Eckes, causing severe damage to the right front of his Chevrolet on lap 141. The incident and subsequent damage relegated Eckes to finish in 23rd position.
“Just a tough night for our Instacoat Premium Products team,” Eckes said. “Our Chevrolet was pretty well balanced throughout the whole night, but it was extremely difficult to pass if you were stuck back in traffic. We needed track position throughout the night, but that’s not the way it turned out, unfortunately. We’ll be ready to go to Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks and regroup.”
Start / Finish: 14 / 23
Points Standing / Total: 6th / 404 pts. (-70)
Next Race: Saturday, July 8, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
How to Watch or Listen: 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM