Christian Eckes took the checkered flag in thrilling fashion to capture the Fr8 208 Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The win marked the 22-year-old’s third top-10 showing in as many races and second among the top five finishers.
“It’s what I came here and set out to do,” said Eckes. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been a little bit emotional.”
Eckes edged second-place Nick Sanchez, who closed out regulation with the lead, by 0.078 seconds. Behind Sanchez were John Nemechek (+0.206), Bayley Currey (+0.435) and Ben Rhodes (+0.810) in the top five. The silver finish for Sanchez, the leader through regulation, was tops for his three career starts in the series. Nemechek led a race-best 53 laps.
Eckes’ first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win on the season – and second of his career – was bolstered by leading 35 of the 137 laps. He secured the checkered as the caution waved for a series of crashes that broke out as he crossed the finished line.
The overtime-forcing 10th caution of the race came out with five laps remaining and Sanchez in the lead, ultimately leading to Eckes prevailing out of turn 4 en route to hoisting the hardware.
Jack Wood spun out from the lead with 23 laps to go. He would finish 10th. Truck Series points leader Zane Smith’s started at the poll and crossed 20th among the field. Reigning Fr8 208 winner Corey Heim’s day ended when he jammed up behind Sanchez on a restart, completing only 83 laps.
Following Saturday afternoon’s Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250 (5 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM), the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will conclude race weekend on Sunday.
Tickets and camping options for Sunday remain available at AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com or by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX.