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NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Eckes Falls Short After Late Restart at Gateway

(Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

MADISON, Ill. — With six laps to go in the Toyota 200, Christian Eckes passed Derek Kraus and drove away. After top fives in the previous three races, Eckes and his ThorSport Racing team seemed destined for their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the season on Saturday.

But, with three laps to go, Tanner Gray crashed and brought out the caution. For the third consecutive race, a winner would be decided on a green-white-checkered-finish.

In the previous two races, Eckes restarted for the green-white-checkered on the front row. He restarted from the lead at Texas after teammate Ben Rhodes spun. At Charlotte, he restarted second after the leaders crashed and lost to Ross Chastain. A week later, Eckes looked for redemption on the front row once again.

Eckes restarted on the outside and appeared to spin his tires. Corey Heim launched on the inside with a push from teammate Chandler Smith and drove away. Heim pulled ahead by over half a second on the final lap before a crash in Turn 1 ended the race.

(Photo: Stephen Conley | The Podium Finish)

“[I] spun them a little bit,” Eckes told the media. “The 19 pushed me too hard and got my rear wheels up in the air and didn’t go nowhere… we didn’t restart well all day.

“We had a really fast Curb Records Toyota Tundra. It’s the only positive from today.”

Eckes qualified for Saturday’s race in fifth and struggled early. He ended Stage 1 in eighth place and Stage 2 in 14th place. He recorded 38 points on the afternoon and moved into sixth in the standings, over 100 points above the cutline.

Eckes’ second-place finish is his sixth top-five result of the season and his seventh top 10. He has just one finish outside the top 20 in 2022.

After four consecutive strong runs on ovals, Eckes looks to continue his consistency next weekend at Sonoma Raceway. It’ll be the second Truck Series road course race of the season. He finished sixth at Circuit of the Americas in March.

“Keep moving on,” Eckes said. “We’re bringing fast trucks, we’re putting ourselves in position, it’s just stupid sh-t.

“The past three weeks, we should have won, and we didn’t. I’m going to go back to the drawing board and figure some stuff out.”

The DoorDash 250 at Sonoma is scheduled for Saturday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

 

 

Nathan Solomon is a sophomore in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. He serves as the Sports Editor for his campus newspaper, The BonaVenture, and as the programming director for his campus radio station, WSBU 88.3FM. The station is rated the No. 4 college radio station in the country by Princeton Review. Solomon started his journalism career in 2018 when he began covering hometown Cornell basketball for IvyHoopsOnline. In 2019, Solomon joined Empire Sports Media to contribute New York Yankees' content and started covering NASCAR for the outlet in 2020. In 2021, he covered his first two NASCAR races with Empire Sports Media. Solomon joined TPF in September of 2021. He is also an NMPA journalist.

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