On the Cusp … Christian Eckes has been tantalizingly close to victory in recent years at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWTR) and is on the cusp of breaking through. The driver of the No. 19 Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet Silverado RST finished second at “Gateway” the last two seasons and returns with a firm grasp of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) points lead. With two victories in the bank this season, Eckes has been on cusp of victory in recent weeks also, most notably by leading 37 laps late in the event at Charlotte Motor Speedway last Friday night. He and the No. 19 team look to close the deal and get back to the winner’s circle on Saturday afternoon in the St. Louis metro area.  

Always Up Front … Through 11 races in 2024 and in six starts at WWTR, Eckes has been a mainstay up front. He has enjoyed plenty of notable moments at the track on the banks of the Mississippi River since 2018. He’s led 100 laps in six starts, including 34 in his first start at the egg-shaped oval. In the last two NCTS events at WWTR, Eckes has been a threat for victory with two straight runner-up finishes. The 2024 season has been no different than his career at WWTR by constantly running up front. Eckes has continued to set a torrid pace with 462 laps led, the most of all NCTS competitors, and has led at least one lap in every race this season.

Season to Date … Five races remain in the NCTS regular season before the regular season title is awarded and Eckes holds a strong 30-point advantage. His two victories at Bristol Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway and three stage wins have him at the top of the conversation as a playoff favorite. He owns the top spot in the standings due to accumulating 123 stage points, the second-most of full-time NCTS competitors. He’s totaled five top-10’s and has 10 top-10 finishes, including nine consecutive, with an average finish of 7.7.

Tune In … Coverage from “Gateway” begins Friday on FOX Sports 1 with practice and qualifying at 6:00 p.m. ET. Saturday’s coverage switches to FOX at 1:00 p.m. with NASCAR Raceday followed by the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 19 Gates Hydraulics team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook. 

Christian Eckes Quote:

On his outlook at Gateway:

“I’ve always enjoyed racing at Gateway. It’s one of the more unique tracks we go to and seems to fit my style. We really want to get back to victory lane and keep building a cushion in the standings. We’ve done a good job maximizing our days for the most part this year, but we need to find a little more speed based on the last couple weeks. I think we’ll have a good Gates Hydraulics Chevrolet this weekend. (Crew chief) Charles (Denike) and these guys put a ton of effort into this truck and we’re optimistic about the weekend. We’ll see how it is in practice and try to give ourselves a shot at it on Saturday.” 

MHR PR