ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race winner Christian Eckes returns to action this weekend when the series makes its next tour stop during the Fans with Benefits 150 at Iowa Speedway on Saturday, July 7.
A highly touted member of Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) young driver core, Eckes, 17, recently thrusted his name back into the national spotlight with a string of strong performances which started after picking up his first career ARCA tour victory at Salem Speedway back in April.
“I’m hungrier than ever,” says Eckes who realizes he’s missed out on the opportunity for several other wins this season. “We got our first one in ARCA earlier in the year but it’s the races we didn’t win that I remember the most. Every race we don’t win the more motivation I have to get there.”
Continuing to show talent behind the wheel, Eckes has been impressive during his first two career attempts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM).
Eckes, who finished eighth driving for KBM three weeks ago at Iowa, backed up his strong truck series debut by contending for wins while performing double duty action recently (ARCA/Truck Series) driving for both VMS and KBM at Gateway Motorsports Park.
At Gateway in the NCWTS, Eckes showcased his abilities leading 34 laps and winning the second stage of the 200-mile race. Unfortunately, the talented teenager got wrecked during the Final Stage of the event and sustained major damage to this Toyota Tundra. He ended his night in early with a disappointing 28th-place finish.
Back in the saddle this weekend driving VMS’ No.15 JBL Toyota, the Middletown, NY native looks to build off his recent success and return to victory lane.
“I’ve had a blast the last few weeks,” said the Toyota driver. “I’m very fortunate to be aligned with the two best teams in both series. It’s definitely a confidence booster knowing we’ve got a shot every time we get to the track. Running both series (ARCA/Truck) has been really positive – there’s no replacement for seat time. The experience I’m getting right now is priceless.”
“There’s no question I’m ready to get back in the seat at Iowa. I’m excited to go get back at it with Venturini Motorsports. Kevin Reed (crew chief) and the guys on the fifteen-team really have things hooked up right now. I like our chances.”
A member of Toyota Racing’s TD2 program, Eckes has accumulated a strong tally sheet since joining VMS’ program in 2015. Eckes has led 384-laps, notched one victory and has collected six top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes in 19 career ARCA starts.
VMS’ No.15 Toyota has gone to victory lane four times so far this season with three different drivers; Michael Self (Daytona and Chicago), Chandler Smith (Madison) and Christian Eckes (Salem).
Next up for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the Fans with Benefits 150 on July 7 at Iowa Speedway.