Christian Eckes Ready to Get ARCA Menards Series Season Back on Track at Talladega

21 Apr 2019
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For some stock car drivers, it takes years of practice and experience to gain a level of comfort at the sport’s two biggest and fastest race tracks, Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The style of racing, in which drivers stay on the throttle all the way around while using the draft – or the slipstream of the car in front of you – to stay within the pack and to make passes. It’s a very specialized skill set, to say the least.

For Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), he has about three weeks’ worth of experience, coming earlier this year at Daytona. He spent two days testing along with his Venturini Motorsports teammates, then returned for the ARCA Menards Series season opener at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Eckes qualified on the General Tire Pole, ran up front all night long and crossed the finish line in fourth place at the end. Eckes stayed for another week and matched his qualifying performance for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.  He started from the pole and ran up front but was swept into a crash not of his doing and finished a disappointing 22nd.

Eckes picked up on that specialized skill set quickly.

“It’s really easy honestly when you have fast race cars,” Eckes said. “And this has been the case so far as my superspeedway career, I’ve sat on both poles. The race is pretty straight forward, don’t lose the draft and be there at the end and you’ll have a shot at a win.”

Eckes now focuses his attention on Daytona’s sister track, Talladega Superspeedway. He’s especially anxious to return to action after missing the series’ last event at Salem Speedway due to illness, which dropped him from the lead to fifth in the series championship standings.

While he does have some experience at Daytona, and some success, the track at Talladega does have some noticeable differences. Those differences often make the races play out a little differently.

“I honestly feel like we will have a shot at it,” he said. “We did at Daytona, and I feel if one or two things changed during the race we could have won. It’ll be the same car that’s sat on two straight speedway poles, so I know the car will be there again. All we have to do is execute and we’ll end up having a shot.”

The list of drivers that have won an ARCA Menards Series race at Talladega is long, and some have used that victory to catapult to success in NASCAR’s upper divisions. Eckes would like to follow in the footsteps of those before him like Mark Martin and Davey Allison, both of whom won at Talladega to jumpstart their stock car careers.

“It’d mean a lot to win at Talladega,” he said. “After the past week it’d be a damn good comeback, and how the points situation is looking it’s crucial to have a good race here. All we can do is execute and do our jobs the best we can, and I know that my team and I can do it.”

The 57th ARCA Menards Series event at Talladega Superspeedway, the General Tire 200, is scheduled for Friday, April 26, the opening event of the track’s 50th Anniversary season. Practice is scheduled for that morning at 9:30 am ET/8:30 am CT, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3:35 pm ET/2:35 pm CT. The General Tire 200 will go green shortly after 6 pm ET/5 pm CT and will be televised live on FS1. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free throughout all on-track sessions at ARCARacing.com. New members can register at ARCARacing.com/login.

ARCA Racing PR

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Steven B. Wilson

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