Eckes Finishes 12th at Daytona Road Course

Stage One Recap: 
  • Eckes, making his first start in NASCAR on a road course, started from the second position based on NASCAR’s new formula for determining the starting lineup that takes into account finishing position from the previous race, team owner points standings and the fastest lap from the previous race to set the lineup.
  • Eckes fell back to third on the initial start before regaining the runner-up spot for the first half of Stage One. The Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender lost one position just before the first caution of the race occurred on Lap 10 and brought Stage One to completion under caution. 
Stage Two Recap:  
  • Eckes communicated to championship crew chief Rudy Fugle that his No. 18 Toyota “has good front turn, just loses rear grip as the run goes along.” Fugle elected to keep his young driver on track for the beginning of Stage Two and with the top-two trucks pitting, Eckes inherited the lead.
  • After leading for three quarters of a lap, Eckes fell back to third across the final few corners. On the next lap he wheel hopped and spun and would fall back to the 18th position on Lap 17.
  • On Lap 21, he was summoned to pit road for the first time under green-flag conditions. After getting four fresh tires and fuel he returned to the track scored in the 24th position. He gained two spots over the final four laps and crossed the stripe 22nd to end Stage Two. 
Final Stage Recap:  
  • Looking ahead to the end of the race, Fugle elected to top off with fuel in order to have extra fuel in the tank should the race go to NASCAR overtime. Eckes took the Lap-27 restart from the 20th position.
  • One lap later, he had maneuvered his way up to the 14th position, and when the third caution of the race occurred on lap 33, he was scored 12th.
  • Half of the trucks in front of Eckes hit pit road, but he remained on track and restarted sixth when the field went green on Lap 35.
  • Eckes made his way up to fourth but missed a corner and slid through the grass., which caused him to lose positions. He regained course and settled into the eighth spot just before the fourth caution of the event occurred on lap 40.
  • With a couple trucks pitting, the Safelite Tundra would line up sixth for NASCAR overtime. He fell back to eighth with one to go and then was involved in an accident that sent him spinning though grass to cross the stripe.
  • The 19-year-old driver was sent to the infield care center to be treated for conditions due to the extreme heat but was later released.