Concord, North Carolina (August 21, 2017) – Sixteen year old Christian Eckes finished sixth in Sunday’s Herr’s Potato Chips 100 at Springfield’s historic dirt mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
As part of tradition the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards helped close out the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL. On the final day and under hot and humid conditions teams arrived early for what was a jammed packed Sunday schedule.
Unlike most race days, Springfield comes fast and furious with practice, qualifying and racing all within a four hour window. For Eckes, the fast moving schedule had no ill affect. With no prior dirt experience and only one hour of practice, Eckes turned in a solid effort during his maiden voyage.
Driving Venturini Motorsports’ prepared No.15 Illinois Truck and Equipment – TurnOne Toyota, Eckes qualified and started from the eighth position.
Taking the green flag Eckes hung with the lead pack and showed no signs of inexperience. In fact, Eckes who maintained his top-10 running position for most of the first half brought spectators to their feet as he moved his machine up through the field – passing hometown favorite AJ Fike in dramatic fashion for the lead just past the halfway point of the 100-mile race.
Eckes would lead the field around the 1-mile track for several circuits before sliding back to the third position. Riding inside the top-3 under caution Eckes would make an unscheduled pit stop late. The untimely stop pushed the teen back to the eighth position. Staying focused Eckes would pick off several spots during the final laps before finishing sixth at the checkered flag.
“Just an incredible experience out there today,” said Eckes. “We ended up running up front for some but a late race pit stop hurt our chances at a top-three finish. I still had a lot of fun and gained a ton of experience for next season. I can’t wait for another shot on the dirt.”
Eckes’ finish was his ninth consecutive top-10 finish of the season. He’ll rejoin the team for his final start of the season on September 9 for the running of the Eddie Gilstrap Motors Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway.
Follow Christian Eckes on social media by visiting @ChristianEckes on Twitter and Instagram, @ChristianEckesRacing on Facebook or visit his official website at www.ChristianEckesRacing.com.
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, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Brennan Poole, Kyle Benjamin, 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 (www.NIASHF.org) and now find themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.