Eckes trounces Truck field with flag-to-flag Nashville dominance

Christian Eckes absolutely dominated Friday night’s NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series’ Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway, the 23-year old leading all 150 laps – the first time a driver has led every race lap in 12 years.

Eckes, driver of the No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet raced forward from a third place starting position to take the lead from pole winner Stewart Friesen by Turn 2 of the opening lap at the 1.333-mile oval and essentially never looked back. He led by more than 3s in the closing laps and ultimately crossed the finish line 2.028s ahead of his teammate Daniel Dye – the runner-up showing a career best effort for the 20-year-old Floridian.

It is the third win of the season for Eckes and extends his championship lead to 40 points over TRICON Garage’s Corey Heim, who finished third after passing Spire Motorsports’ Rajah Caruth on the final lap. McAnally-Hilgermann Racing’s Tyler Ankrum was fifth.


“Can’t say enough about these guys,’’ said Eckes, who has three wins on the season and now eight in his seven seasons in the series. It’s the second time this season (also at Martinsville, Va.) that he has swept both stage wins and claimed the winner’s trophy.

“We were really motivated to get this truck out there. Nice job for the day,’’ added Eckes who says he can’t ever remember leading every lap in any race he’s competed in.

The win also earned Eckes a $50,000 bonus check for claiming the final leg of the series’ Triple Truck Challenge – Nick Sanchez and Heim are the other winners in the incentive program.

“I saw the No. 11 (Heim) has four of them [wins] so got a little upset walking in [to Nashville Superspeedway], so now another one to go catch another one,’’ Eckes said.

Grant Enfinger, Ben Rhodes, Matt Mills, Ty Majeski and Jake Garcia rounded out the top 10 in the finishing order. Rhodes’ rally was especially impressive considering how he started.

While Eckes spent the day up front – mastering every restart on an evening that saw seven caution flags for 42 laps – there was plenty of action behind him as the caution count would indicate.

On the other hand, Sanchez, who started his No. 2 Rev Racing Chevy from the rear of the 36-car field after hitting the wall in qualifying, rallied to finish 13th and sits third in the championship 89 points behind Eckes.

NASCAR Cup Series star and current FOX Sports NASCAR broadcaster Clint Bowyer finished 17th after his No. 7 Spire truck suffered damage when the field stacked up on the Stage 1 restart. In his typically colorful manner, Bowyer was frank about his night – the first NASCAR national series race he’s competed in since retiring from full-time competition in 2020.


“We fought loose-in the whole time from the word go, but I know from a lot of years of experience that’s hard to overcome,’’ said Bowyer, a 10-time NASCAR Cup Series winner and the 2012 championship runner-up.

“I don’t know what happened on the [Stage 1] restart, they all checked up in front of me and I crashed,’’ Bowyer said, adding, “I will be back. I promise you there’s no way I’m ending on that.”

Three races remain to set the 10-driver Playoff field. Currently Tanner Gray, who finished 14th Friday night, sits in the 10th place position, 14 points ahead of Dye.

The CRAFTSMAN Truck Series returns to competition for the CRC Brakleen 175 at Pocono Raceway on July 12 (5:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Kyle Busch is the defending race winner.


Story originally appeared on Racer