Concord, North Carolina (October 24, 2018) – Venturini Motorsports (VMS) announces the return of driver Christian Eckes for a full-season effort during next year’s ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards campaign. The announcement, which comes on the heels of Eckes’ third ARCA victory of the season, cements the pairing for a series’ championship bid in 2019.
Eckes, 17, a native of Middletown, NY and member of Toyota Racing Development’s successful TD2 program, returns to the ARCA series after three years of experience, ready to embark on his first full season which begins at Daytona international Speedway in February.
“This is an exciting and incredible opportunity,” said Eckes. “Coming back to Venturini Motorsports to compete for a championship and running under the Toyota banner is a dream come true and a result of a lot of hard work the last few years. It’s a proud moment.
“I have a ton of confidence in this organization to be able to come out next year and run at the highest level. We’ve already achieved a lot of success together, but I believe the best is yet to come. This is a tight group with a ton of heart and desire to succeed. I’m truly humbled. I can’t thank everyone enough who’s helped me get to this point in my career. Venturini Motorsports and Toyota have played significant roles the last few years. Chances like this don’t come along easily. My commitment level has never been higher.”
Receiving high praises from team owner Billy Venturini, Eckes’ forthcoming full-season schedule embodies everything it means and takes to be a successful development driver with VMS.
“Christian has been in the program since he was 15-yrs old. He epitomizes what being a VMS driver is all about with his tireless effort he puts in on and off the track,” stated Venturini. “We are really looking forward to another season with Christian. He’s been really exciting to watch this year. I think we’ll see a lot more of that in the future. It’s been a privilege to work with him and watch him mature as a person and driver.”
Since signing with VMS in 2016, Eckes has made 27 ARCA series starts, seeing limited action over each of the last three seasons. Achieving notable success, the former Snowball Derby winner had a breakout season in ’18, earning his first career ARCA win at Salem Speedway in April before going on to notch two more victories at Springfield’s dirt mile and at Lucas Oil Raceway. Earning two General Tire Pole Awards along the way, Eckes has led 421-laps in just 13 starts this season.
Over his three ARCA seasons, Eckes has tallied three wins, two poles, 10 top-5, 18 top-10 finishes and has led 695-laps during his time in the series.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Running the entire ARCA schedule next year is going to present a new set of challenges and opportunities because the last few years I’ve only been able to run partial schedules. But knowing what we’re capable of achieving together is exciting. If we continuing doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll hopefully keep winning races and having more success along the way.
“As far as our goals, we definitely have the championship circled. It would mean so much to provide Venturini Motorsports with their first ARCA championship since Big Bill (Venturini) won two during his career. They’ve been around a long time and supported so many drivers over the years. It’s really cool to be a part of this team and having a chance to make my mark,” added Eckes.
Tapped earlier in the season by Kyle Busch Motorsports to compete in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, Eckes will return to action with for his final two appearances starting with this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway and concluding at ISM Raceway in Arizona on November 9. Already with two truck series starts this season, Eckes impressed with a top-10 finish during his debut at Iowa Speedway and getting a stage win at Gateway Motorsports Park during his second series start.
Additional information including sponsorship details and ARCA’s event schedule for the 2019 season will be released as it becomes available.
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 country. 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.