Concord, North Carolina (September 11, 2017) - Making his final ARCA Series appearance of the season, Christian Eckes returned to his familiar No.15 NEW YORK BUS SALES Toyota seeking his first series victory.
Laying the ground work early the 16-year old New York state native showed speed finishing practice and qualifying fourth for Saturday’s night’s Eddie Gilstrap Fall Classic under the lights at Salem Speedway.
Set for 200-laps of racing Eckes quickly used his strong starting spot to stay up front and pressure the leaders throughout the first half of the event.
Bouncing back between the second and third positions Eckes showed patience and dominant race car up until the midway point of the race. Bidding his time Eckes and crew chief Jeff McClure were riding along waiting for their time to jump to the top spot.
Plans however would be short lived as his night turned sour at the midway point of the race when Eckes chimed in on the radio informing his team the 15-car was "blowing up". Riding nose to tail in the third position Eckes pulled his Toyota down onto the inside of the track and rolled into the pits.
Moments later his crew lifted the hood and confirmed Eckes earlier suspicions – Eckes was done and rolled back into the garage credited with an 19th place finish. Saturday’s finish marked Eckes' only DNF of the season.
"Like I've said in the past – you need A+B+C - everything must go right in order to win at this level," said Eckes.
"Tonight we had a hot rod. We were riding around saving our tires waiting for the laps to tick down. Our Toyota Camry was fast - we were coming. I had a piece capable of winning. I'm disappointed. But we gotta look at the bright side. We've had a heck of a year and I've got total faith in this team moving forward. We'll be back next year and ready to make some noise."
Despite the disappointing Salem outcome Eckes can hold his head high finishing his abbreviated season among the best for part-time series drivers with four top-5 and nine top-10 finishes in just 10 starts. His 274-laps lead are among the category leaders and ahead of any other driver competing in fewer than ten events.
Emerging as one of the true talents within a stacked series, Eckes will return to the ARCA Series with Venturini Motorsports next season for a 15-race schedule.
Follow Christian Eckes on social media by visiting @ChristianEckes on Twitter and Instagram, @ChristianEckesRacing on Facebook or visit his official website at www.ChristianEckesRacing.com.