Concord, North Carolina (July 3, 2017) – Once a destination for drivers to make a career, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards has evolved over the last couple of decades becoming one of the premier proving grounds for young up and coming drivers hoping to make their mark and catapult their careers in the sport of stock car racing.
One rising star quietly making his presence known within the series is 16-year old Middletown, NY native Christian Eckes, driver of the No.15 New York Bus Sales Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports.
Eckes, with nine career ARCA starts since making his series debut in 2016, has joined the conversation as one of the series’ top young rookies – evolving into a legitimate contender each and every time he suits up and straps into the car.
Still looking for his first series win, Eckes has been pounding on the door. Despite not competing in the full ARCA schedule due to series age restrictions, Eckes has led laps with Venturini Motorsports in each of his first five races. Impressively, he currently leads all full-time series’ drivers with 272-laps led going into Saturday’s tenth season event at Iowa Speedway.
In just his handful of season starts Eckes has quickly compiled an impressive stat sheet.
Running his second consecutive partial season, Eckes has made the most of his limited schedule notching five consecutive top-10 finishes to go along with three top-5’s and a runner-up finishing spot last month at Elko Speedway.
Wise beyond his teenage years, Eckes realizes the wins will come.
“These races are insanely hard to win. Everything must go right – especially now with so many strong drivers and teams in the series,” says Eckes.
“My favorite analogy is A+B=C. A is your job, if you do your job perfectly, you can give yourself a checkmark. B however, are the things you cannot control. Whether it’s you get into a wreck or anything that’s out of your control happens. C is your result. You have to have both A and B go right to get the best result. That’s the best thing I’ve learned in racing so far, it will never always go your way. As long as I continue to better myself behind the wheel and do what I do – the wins will follow.”
Enjoying early success, Eckes credits his recent success to teamwork, staying focused and maturing as a race car driver.
“Last year I was the new kid – just another face in the garage. We got off to a great start but stumbled a bit due to nobody’s fault but some bad racing luck. I wasn’t able to show my potential. I got down but never lost my focus. This Venturini team is the best in the business – I’m in the right place at the right time. Our goals are aligned – we’re one team having fun and focused on winning.”
Last year after earning an impressive top-10 finish in his first ever series event at Nashville, Eckes’ ARCA beginnings were humbled the rest of the way throughout his brief four race ARCA schedule in 2016. Despite showing speed and maturity behind the wheel bad luck and untimely mechanical issues slowed the teenage drivers’ immediate progression.
A relatively unknown driver, Eckes’ fate and industry wide notoriety would drastically change towards the end of his 2016 racing season – posturing Eckes for his current season.
Competing with his Fury and JR Motorsports super late model teams, Eckes would conclude his 2016 season on fire with a three-race winning streak highlighted by his thrilling victory over recent back-to-back NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner, John Hunter Nemecheck, in the prestigious Snowball Derby short track event at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.
“There’s no question winning the Snowball was big for me and my career. But more than anything it gave me a huge shot of confidence going into this season. Of course I’m proud of my achievement – but I see it as just another building block in what I hope is a long career,” added Eckes.
The Snowball Derby attracts hundreds of drivers annually and is easily considered the crown jewel of short track racing.
ARCA Iowa Schedule/Media
The next event on Eckes’ ARCA schedule comes Saturday night at Iowa Speedway. Practice for the Iowa ARCA 150 is from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. CST Saturday with General Tire Pole Qualifying following at 3:15 p.m. The Iowa 150 is scheduled to get the green flag at 8:18 p.m. Follow Live Timing, Scoring and Chat at arcaracing.com. The race will also be tape-delayed on MAVTV, scheduled to air July 22 at 10 p.m. EST.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Venturini Motorsports (VMS), fielding cars for over 30-years in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, is one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the country. Multiple team championships and consistent on-track success, VMS has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in motorsports. Since 2007, VMS has assisted in the career development of notable NASCAR drivers such as Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, Daniel Suarez, and Brandon Jones. Over the years the Venturini name has become synonymous with modern-day racing in America. In 2012, the Venturini family was inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.