Concord, North Carolina (April 24, 2019) – After being hospitalized for illness and forced to withdraw from his last start at Salem Speedway, Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota) returns to the driver’s seat Friday afternoon for the ARCA Menards Series’ General Tire 200 at Talladega Superspeedway.
This weekend’s event marks Eckes’ first time racing at the famed 2.5-mile Alabama track. His only other previous superspeedway experience came back in February during a pair of starts during Daytona’s Speedweeks.
Kicking-off the season the eighteen-year old driver started from the pole position Daytona International Speedway and finished fourth in ARCA’s season opener. The following week he duplicated his qualifying efforts winning the pole during this first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race of the season driving for Kyle Bush Motorsports.
“I’m feeling a hundred percent and excited to get back to work with my JBL Audio team this weekend at Talladega,” said Eckes.
“There are a lot of variables outside the driver’s control going to a place like Talladega but I honestly feel like we will have a shot at it. We did it at Daytona, and I feel if one or two things changed during that ARCA race we could have won. I’ll be in the same car that’s sat on the pole for two straight speedway poles, so I know the car will be there again. All we have to do is execute and we’ll end up having a shot.”
Eckes, who held a 65-point advantage in the ARCA Menards Series’ driver point standings prior to Salem relinquished his lead but did receive 25 points for entering and participating in the event, and he does remain eligible for the 250-point bonus for participating in each race in the first of four five-race segments in the 2019 season.
The New York state native with two top-5’s and one pole position on the season is now fifth in the standings, 90-points behind the new leader Travis Braden.
Eckes will join his Venturini Motorsports (VMS) teammates Michael Self and Brandon Lynn on Friday in search of delivering the team its first ARCA Menards Series win at Talladega. VMS has recorded 55 series’ wins since Bill Venturini captured his first at Spartan Speedway in 1985. Venturini still holds ARCA’s all-time qualifying speed record at Talladega Superspeedway with a speed of 205.432 mph set in 1987.
The 57th ARCA Menards Series event at Talladega Superspeedway, the General Tire 200, is scheduled for Friday, April 26, the opening event of the track’s 50thAnniversary season. Practice is scheduled for that morning at 9:30 am ET/8:30 am CT, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 3:35 pm ET/2:35 pm CT. The General Tire 200 will go green shortly after 6 pm ET/5 pm CT and will be televised live on FS1.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS
With 54 all-time victories, Venturini Motorsports, an official Toyota Racing Development team, has been a permanent fixture in the ARCA Menards Series since 1983 and is considered one of the early pioneers in NASCAR driver development programs.
Since Joey Logano, last year’s 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion, raced for the team in 2007, VMS has gone onto assist many of the sports’ top driver prospects in pursuit of making it to the highest levels of stock car racing.
The growing list of drivers racing today in one of NASCAR’s top-three touring series include current Toyota drivers Erik Jones, Christopher Bell, Harrison Burton, Christian Eckes, Chandler Smith, Brandon Jones, Todd Gilliland, Brennan Poole, Ryan Reed and Natalie Decker. VMS Alumni also include Joey Logano, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez, Bubba Wallace, Matt Tifft, Noah Gragson, Justin Allgaier and Justin Haley.