Concord, North Carolina (August 29, 2018) – Two weeks ago if you asked Christian Eckes about making his second ever career dirt race start and his chances on the Springfield mile he would’ve told you he had “no chance of winning.” Well, that was then and this is now. Eckes, 17, shocked himself and added his name to a long list of ARCA dirt winners with little or no dirt experience prior to his unlikely victory at Springfield earlier in the month.
“This is what makes the ARCA series so great,” Eckes said. “The series is so diverse and gives drivers like myself the opportunity to learn new skills racing on all different type of tracks. I truly expected to just run that one out at Springfield. Going up against guys with so much dirt experience like Logan Seavey and Sheldon Creed can be an uphill battle. But I proved to myself I can get it done.”
Eckes, a member of Toyota Racing’s TD2 program, returns to the dirt with new found confidence and his No.15 JBL Audio Toyota team for the Labor Day running of the General Tire Grabber presented by Federated Auto Parts 100 at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
“I’m still not calling myself a dirt track driver but I definitely have a lot more confidence going into this weekend. I learned a ton at Springfield. I was almost two-seconds back during practice. But I watched the other guys with more experience and picked up a bunch. Once I followed people who knew what they were doing I figured it out and got a lot better. After that my racing instincts took over.”
“I’m really looking forward to DuQuoin,” added Eckes. “This fifteen-team has been on a roll this year. Kevin Reed and the Venturini Motorsports guys have done a heck of a job giving me the best shot every week. I’ll do my part this week. Hopefully we can steal another one on the dirt,” said Eckes with a smirk.
Eckes, a two-time ARCA series winner, has 24-career series starts to his credit. Monday’s matinee on the DuQuoin dirt mile will mark the teen’s 11th series appearance of the 2018 campaign. Eckes has led 250-laps on the season and 510 overall since making his ARCA debut at Nashville in 2016.
In his last outing at Berlin Raceway, Eckes led a race high 43-laps and seemingly on his way to his third career victory before blowing his left front tire inside the final 20-laps of the race. He finished 11th.
ARCA, considered the most versatile and leading auto racing sanctioning bodies in the country, has run 358 dirt races since the series’ inception in 1953. Of Venturini Motorsports’ 49-series victories, the longtime series team has earned five wins on dirt – three at Springfield and two at DuQuoin since 2010 – Steve Arpin (DuQuoin ’10), Brennan Poole (Springfield ’13), Kevin Swindell (Springfield ’14), Tom Hessert (DuQuoin ’16) and Christian Eckes (Springfield ’18).
The ARCA race at Du Quoin is all part of a holiday doubleheader weekend of racing, featuring USAC Silver Crown on Sunday, September 2 and the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards on Monday, September 3. The race will start at 2:00PM CDT and will air live on MAVTV.
ABOUT VENTURINI MOTORSPORTS:
Over the last 35-years Venturini Motorsports (VMS) has evolved into one of the most recognizable names in professional motorsports. Known for long-time dominance in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Venturini Motorsports is held in high regard as one of the premier NASCAR driver development programs in the county. Since 2007, VMS has specialized in the career development of some of today’s top racing talent including current NASCAR “Stars” – Joey Logano, Erik Jones, William Byron, Alex Bowman, Ryan Blaney, Darryl ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhoads, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones, Matt Tifft, Brennan Poole, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Haley and Todd Gilliland. Integrity, dedication and continuous innovation paired with years of on-track success has helped define Venturini Motorsports as one of the longest tenured teams in all of modern day racing. In 2012, the Venturini racing family was recognized for their collective achievements and inducted into the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame – now finding themselves enshrined with such sports icons as Joe DiMaggio, Mario Andretti, Chip Ganassi, Andy Granatelli, Vince Lombardi, Tommy Lasorda and Rocky Marciano.