Christian Eckes finished seventh in each of the first two stages of Friday night's NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 at Martinsville Speedway before putting the Safelite Tundra in position to compete for the win in the closing laps. The 19-year-old driver lined up on the inside of row two on the final restart with two laps remaining and attempted a bump-and-a-run pass on the top-two trucks but wound up losing a spot over the closing laps to finish fourth.
Stage One Recap:
- Eckes started from the14th position after a performance matrix based off his finishing position from the previous race, ranking in owner points standings and the ranking of the fastest lap he turned from the previous race at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth.
- After the first caution of the race on Lap 13, the Safelite Tundra lined up on the outside of the fifth row for the ensuing restart.
- Stage One would end under yellow when a two-truck accident occurred with two laps remaining in the stanza with Eckes in the seventh position.
Stage Two Recap:
- Eckes communicated to veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle that he needed more grip in his Tundra before hitting pit road for four tires and fuel between stages.
- The Safelite Tundra lined up on the outside of row three when Stage Two went green on Lap 59. He had advanced up to the fourth position when a caution occurred on Lap 78.
- Fugle summoned his young driver to pit road for four tires and fuel. With some teams electing not to pit, Eckes returned to the track in the ninth position and then elected to start from the inside of the sixth row for the restart on Lap 84.
- When the next caution occurred on Lap 91, the No. 18 Toyota was in the eighth position and then lined up on the outside of row three for the ensuing restart with two laps remaining in the stage.
- Eckes would finish the stage in the seventh position.
Final Stage Recap:
- With several trucks hitting pit road between stages, the New York native lined up on the outside of the front row when the Final Stage went green on Lap 112. He was scored in the fifth position when a three-truck accident occurred on Lap 117.
- The Safelite Tundra selected the bottom of the third row for the restart on Lap 126. With some trucks on fresher tires behind him, he began sliding back through the running order. He was 11th when the next caution occurred on Lap 154.
- Fugle called four a four-tire and fuel stop and Eckes lined up on the inside of the sixth row for the Lap 161 restart. The Toyota Racing Development driver had advance up to ninth when another caution occurred on Lap 166.
- Over the next 20 laps, the field would experience four more cautions. Eckes lined up on the bottom of the second row for the final restart with two laps remaining. As the field went through turns three and four, he got into the bumper of Ben Rhodes who then tagged into Grant Enfinger and a hole opened on the bottom momentarily but Eckes was unable to make his way past the two ThorSport teammates.
- He would cross the stripe in the fourth position to earn his sixth top-five of the year.