The Defending Winner … Christian Eckes returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) as the defending winner and looks to go back-to-back at NAPA’s home track. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST kicked off his career-best season by leading 35 laps at AMS and captured a stage victory en route to his first of four race wins last March. Eckes began 2024 with a resilient top-10 finish at Daytona International Speedway (DIS) last Friday night after battling back from multiple incidents and scored the third-most points of all competitors. He and crew chief Charles Denike are focused on returning to victory lane on Saturday to punch an early ticket to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) playoffs.

Everything’s Peachy at AMS … The Peach State has been kind to Eckes in his three previous NCTS starts at AMS. He’s made two appearances on the 1.5-mile’s present higher-banked configuration and made his first start on the previous abrasive surface in 2020. The 23-year-old has succeeded at AMS no matter the configuration by leading laps in all three races and has tallied two podiums in those three events. He notched a third-place effort in 2020 and delivered MHR’s first NCTS victory last year.

Dual Threat … No matter if AMS is characterized as a common 1.5-mile track or superspeedway, Eckes has shown the capability to be a major threat. Two of his four wins came at 1.5-mile tracks in 2023 and he’s excelled in drafting races by delivering three top-five and four top-10 finishes in eight career superspeedway starts. Counting AMS, Eckes has been a stalwart of consistency with four top-five and five top-10’s in his last seven races at drafting tracks (includes AMS, DIS, and Talladega Superspeedway).

Tune In … On-track activity at AMS begins Friday afternoon with pole qualifying at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1. Saturday’s coverage beings with NASCAR Raceday on FS1 at 1:00 p.m. ET followed by the green flag at 2:00 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook. 

Christian Eckes Quote:

On returning to AMS a year after his first win with MHR:

“We’d love to repeat what we did last year at Atlanta. That was a special day for me, MHR as a whole, and everyone at NAPA too with it being their home track. We got through Daytona with some good points, but we want to have a much cleaner day this week. Our whole NAPA Auto Care team has been putting in so much effort and we’ve had strong trucks at all these drafting races, so I’m looking forward to this weekend. It’s similar to Daytona and Talladega in the fact that you have to make the right decisions and get help at the right time, but there’s certainly less real estate to work with. It’ll be a challenge on Saturday, but our entire group is looking forward to it, so hopefully we can put NAPA back in victory lane again in their backyard.”