Showing the Way … For the first time in his career, Christian Eckes is showing the way at the top of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) championship standings as the tour rolls into Las Vegas, Nev. The driver of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST holds a five-point advantage in the standings after a stage win and third-place finish in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in his debut with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. As a former winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS), Eckes looks to parlay his prior success in “Sin City” to extend his advantage with the NAPA Auto Care team.
Fire Bet … The first race at a 1.5-mile track this season plays right into Eckes’ wheelhouse. Dating back to Kansas Speedway in May of 2022, he has earned five straight top-10 finishes at 1.5-mile tracks, including four finishes of seventh or better. Friday night’s showdown at LVMS can set the tone for Eckes to continue his trend of being one of the most consistent intermediate track racers in the series as he continues his quest to seize the first NCTS victory for MHR.
Stats on the Strip … Eckes has made six starts at LVMS, tied with Kansas Speedway for the most of any track on the NCTS tour, and he’s made the most of those opportunities. The Middletown, N.Y. native won his first NCTS race at LVMS in September 2021 after making a late charge to the lead. He took a quick shine to the jewel in the desert by earning the pole award and a podium finish in his LVMS debut in September 2019. In total, Eckes has amassed three top five and four top 10 finishes in his six starts and has led laps in all but one race.
Crew Chief / Chassis Selection … Crew chief Charles Denike and the No. 19 team have prepared the second new chassis in as many races for Eckes. Chassis No. 349 is a fresh Chevrolet Silverado RST to the MHR stable and will see its first on-track action in Friday’s practice session.
Tune In … Action from LVMS begins at 4:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1 with practice and pole qualifying. NASCAR Raceday kicks off race coverage at 8:00 p.m. ET on FS1 followed by the green flag at 9:00 p.m. ET. Stay connected with the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care team by following @BMR_NASCAR on Twitter, @bmrnascar on Instagram, and Bill McAnally Racing on Facebook.
Christian Eckes Quote:
On starting a new year with MHR and the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care team:
“Our NAPA Auto Care team had a great start to the year at Daytona and it’s always good when you can start with a big points day like that. We want to be a consistent race team this year and run towards the front every week. This week is another step towards that and hopefully we can have a similar result again. Everybody at MHR put a lot of effort in on this new NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado for Friday night, so it’d be great to be in the mix for the win at the end of the night.”