Just months after winning the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model Race, Christian Eckes is set to make his return to the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards during this weekend’s Music City 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
At 16-years old, Toyota Racing Development driver Christian Eckes will pilot the No.15 New York Bus Sales Toyota Camry under the lights Saturday night at Nashville’s historic short track. Nashville, a familiar track for Eckes, was the site of his series debut last season where the then 15-year old turned in a solid top-10 finish driving for Venturini Motorsports.
“It’s been a long wait but there’s no doubt I’m ready to get back in the ARCA car at Nashville,” said Eckes. “We had a good run there (Nashville) last year and after winning the Snowball Derby back in December I’ve got a lot of confidence going into this season’s effort with Venturini.”
Eckes and team tested at Nashville in preparation for the first short track event of the season.
“We went up to Nashville last week and had a great outing with our Toyota Camry. I’m back with my crew chief Jeff McClure and together we made some big gains during the test. We showed a lot of qualifying speed and despite the abrasive racing surface we showed a lot of promise on the long runs too. Nashville is one of those tracks with a ton of character and offers multiple grooves. I’m excited and can’t wait – it’s going to be a great show!”
After competing in four ARCA events in 2016, the high school junior honor student will increase his schedule and compete in nine short track races this season. In addition to Nashville the Middletown, New York driver will visit Salem Speedway (April 30), Toledo Speedway (May 21), Elko Speedway (June 3), Madison International Speedway (June 23), Iowa Speedway (July 8), Lucas Oil Raceway (July 21), Winchester Speedway (August 6) and Salem Speedway (September 9).
Veteran crew chief Jeff McClure will coordinate efforts for Eckes and the 15-team during the 2017 campaign. Since joining Venturini Motorsports in 2013, McClure has gone to victory lane three times (Todd Gilliland ’15 and twice with Christopher Bell ‘16).
Last season Eckes competed in nearly 40-events across several different series. Over those events the young driver tallied three wins, 17-Top 5’s and 25 Top-10 finishes. His three wins coming in succession to wrap up his season came via three of the year’s most prestigious Late/Super Late Model races of the season – the Myrtle Beach 400, Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park and most recently the 2016 Snowball Derby.
Eckes, part of VMS’ three team effort will join Toyota teammates, Zane Smith and Raphael Lessard in Nashville.
VMS, an official Toyota Racing Development team, is widely known for their ARCA success recording 43-team victories during their longstanding series involvement. Thirty of VMS’s all-time victories have been recorded since 2008.
Saturday’s Music City 200 presented by Azure Foundation marks the 26th ARCA race at Fairgrounds Speedway since its debut on the famous short track in 1959. The event will air LIVE on MAVTV with broadcast coverage beginning at 8 p.m. CST. Follow ARCARacing.com or @VenturiniMotor on Twitter for weekend updates.
For more information on Christian Eckes visit ChristianEckesRacing.com, Facebook.com/Christian-Eckes or @ChristianEckes on Twitter.