Concord, NC (June 23, 2018) – Christian Eckes led the way for Venturini Motorsports’ trio of drivers, finishing fourth in Friday night’s Papa Nicholas Coffee 150 at Gateway Motorsports Park during his ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards return.
Teammates Toni Breidinger finished 12th and Natalie Decker salvaged a top-15 finish after getting spun out nearing the midway point of ARCA’s 10th event of the season.
After starting on the outside pole, Christian Eckes, led 35-laps and battled for the top spot all evening with eventual race winner Sheldon Creed. The two Toyota drivers swapped lead changes six times during the 120-lap event.
Eckes, leading late with his eyes focused on earning his second career victory, was moved up the track and out of the groove by Creed on lap-80. Unable to recover, the 17-year old Eckes regained his composure and settled for his second top-5 of the season.
“It’s disappointing,” said Eckes during his post race interview with FOX Sports reporter, Dillon Welch. “We had a great JBL Toyota tonight. I’m really not sure what happened down on turns one and two. But it’s really unfortunate with the car we had. I’m really proud of this team.”
Eckes will get another chance at Gateway glory tonight when he returns to the track behind the wheel of his No.46 Mobil 1 Tundra when he makes his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start with Kyle Busch Motorsports.
California native, Toni Breidinger, driver of VMS’ No.20 Renton Coil Spring – Flexzilla Toyota Camry, nearly missed out on her second consecutive top-10, finished 12th in just her second ARCA start.
Team owner, Billy Venturini, commented after Breidinger’s solid run under the lights.
“Shout out to Toni (Breidinger) on a solid performance tonight,” said Venturini. “She’s got very little big car experience and yet she’s already competitive. Lots to build on. I’m looking forward to watching her at Chicago next week.”
Set to celebrate her 21st birthday on Monday, Natalie Decker’s solid Gateway performance was spoiled after being tagged and sent hard into the outside wall by a competitor entering turn one on lap-65.
Sustaining heavy right side damage to her No.25 N29 Capital Partners – YAMAHA Power Products Toyota, Decker’s pit crew went to work with repairs, allowing the rookie driver to finish. “I’m not happy at all,” said Decker about the on-track incident. “I get it. It’s racing. But when you get wrecked with a good car like we had tonight it’s not a good feeling. We’ll be back – on to Chicago.”
The next race for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards is the SCOTT 150 at Chicagoland Speedway on Thursday June 28. Practice will start on Thursday at 3 pm ET/2 pm CT, with General Tire Pole Qualifying scheduled for 6:35 pm ET/5:35 pm CT. The green flag will fly over round 11 of the 2018 season at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT; the race will be televised live on FS1.
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.