Eckes Lays Down Strong Run, Finishes 33rd at Pocono

Eckes Lays Down Strong Run, Finishes 33rd at Pocono NK Photography Photo
Christian Eckes suffered heartbreak in the rain-delayed NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Pocono Organics 150 to Benefit Farm Aid at Pocono Raceway, suffering a flat tire and hitting the wall while leading in the No. 18 Safelite Tundra with 11 laps remaining in the event. The event was originally scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but due to schedule constraints and inclement weather, it was delayed until 9:30 in the morning on Sunday, making the first three-series triple header in NASCAR history. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender finished 11th in Stage One, second in Stage Two and in the Final Stage was leading when he brought out the yellow with 11 laps to go. The incident relegated him to a 33rd-place finish. 
The late-race incident dropped Eckes to sixth in the Gander Truck Series driver point standings, 74 behind points leader Austin Hill with six races complete in the regular season.
Stage One Recap: 
  • Eckes started from the fourth spot via a random draw in tiers based on 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Series points. Amidst three cautions and two red flags in the first 15-lap stage, Eckes fell to 11th during the six green flag laps.
  • The young driver, suffering from a sinus infection and blown ear drum, reported that his Safelite Toyota Tundra was good, but that he was losing positions during restarts.
  • Following the conclusion of the stage, crew chief Rudy Fugle opted to keep the No. 18 Tundra on track.
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Eckes started Stage Two in the eighth position after staying out.
  • The young driver began to gain positions as the race was paused again on Lap 24, and Fugle again kept him on the race track.
  • The No. 18 Safelite Tundra was scored in second when the caution flag flew on Lap 29, which ended the second stage.
  • Under the stage break, Fugle brought him to pit road for two fresh right side tires and Sunoco fuel. While on pit road, Eckes made contact with another vehicle.
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Eckes began the Final Stage in 10th, but quickly moved toward the front.
  • When the yellow flag flew for the seventh time on lap 36, Eckes was scored in fourth.
  • On the restart, Eckes lined up in third, and under the longest green flag run of the race he made his way to the front, taking the lead on lap 39.
  • The New York native had pulled away from teammate Brandon Jones when a tire issue sent him spinning from the lead, and ultimately ended his day on lap 49, with just 11 laps remaining in the event, relegating him to a 33rd-place finish.


Speedway Digest Staff

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