CONCORD, NC – MAY 1, 2019: Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Toyota) looks to get back in the groove when the ARCA Menards Series resumes action this weekend in the General Tire Music City 200 at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville.
After gaining the early lead in the ARCA Championship Point standing on the strength of starting the season from the pole at Daytona and back-to-back top-5 series’ finishes, Eckes’ season hit a bump in the road with consecutive heartbreak weekends. Forced to sit out at Salem Speedway three weeks ago due to illness, Eckes’ first trip to Talladega Superspeedway last Friday ended early after being collected in an accident midway through the race.
Showing strength on short tracks throughout his young career, the eighteen-year old driver remains confident moving forward.
“There’s nothing that can keep me down this early in the season,” said Eckes. “We’ve had some bad luck the last couple of races but we still have a long way to go. I’ve got a ton of confidence in my JBL Audio team. Kevin (Reed) and the rest of the guys have prepared another great Toyota for Nashville so it’s up to me to help us get our season back on track.”
A member of Toyota Racing Development’s driver development program, Eckes is no stranger to short track success – he won the Snowball Derby and the Myrtle Beach 400 in 2016 – Eckes is hoping to reinvigorate his title hopes with a strong short track performance in Nashville.
“The great thing about Nashville is it’s unique, and it’s very raceable,” he said. “You can move all around the race track. There’s different grooves and a lot of ways to find speed. That’s why it’s so popular. I’m really excited to hopefully make some Nashville magic this weekend in my JBL Audio Camry.”
A legitimate contender every time out, the Middletown, New York native has been stout on short tracks since making his series’ debut at Nashville back in 2016. A three-time ARCA short track winner, Eckes has started from the pole three times and has notched 12 top-5’s and 20 top-10 finishes over his last 30 starts. He has made three career starts at Nashville with three top-10’s and a personal best third-place finish in 2017.
The General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions is scheduled for Saturday, May 4. The day will get started with practice at 2:15 pm ET/1:15 pm CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying will follow at 5:15 pm ET/4:15 pm CT, and the race will go green shortly after 9 pm ET/8 pm CT. The race will be televised live flag-to-flag on MAVTV.
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.