Christian Eckes Finishes Sixth at Kansas
Christian Eckes and the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass team used pit strategy to try and win the Clean Harbors 200 at Kansas Speedway, but a slow two-tire pit stop left them running fifth in the closing laps. A tangle between the leaders with five laps remaining gave the team another chance, but after lining up on the outside of row two for NASCAR overtime, Eckes got shuffled back and would end the race with a sixth-place finish.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes started from the14th position after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.
- The Safelite Tundra was strong in the opening laps advancing to seventh in the first three laps. As the opening stanza proceeded caution free, the No. 18 Toyota would gain one more position to finish the segment in the sixth position on Lap 30.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes communicated to veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle that he was "pretty happy" with his Tundra before hitting pit road for four tires and fuel between stages.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the bottom of the fourth row when Stage Two went green on Lap 37. When the second caution of the race occurred two laps later, Eckes was scored in the fifth position.
- After a red-flag period to clean up the carnage from the 10-truck incident, the rookie driver lined up on the bottom of the third row for the ensuing restart on Lap 45.
- After falling back one position on the restart, Eckes was able to gain two positions over the final 10 laps of the stage to come home fourth. Coming to the stripe, he had a lap truck on the inside him and the fifth-place truck to the outside of him and got squeezed between them causing some mild damage to his truck.
Final Stage Recap:
- Fugle ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with a trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling of the Safelite Tundra for his young driver.
- Eckes lined up on the inside of the third row when the Final Stage went green on Lap 67. When the field settle in line, the Safelite Tundra was scored in the sixth position on lap 72. After falling back a few positions, he rallied back to the sixth spot when the top-five trucks began to make their final pit stop.
- The No. 18 Toyota inherited the lead for seven laps before Fugle summoned Eckes to pit road for a two-tire stop on lap 113. The over-the-wall crew experienced issues changing the right-front tire which caused for an unusually slow two-tire stop.
- Eckes was scored in the fifth position when pit stops cycled through with 15 laps remaining in the event. The top two trucks made contact, causing Zane Smith to spin and bring out the caution with four laps remaining.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the outside of row two for NASCAR overtime but got shuffled back on the restart and would cross the stripe in the sixth position. The top-10 finish was Eckes' ninth of the 2020 season.
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