By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Although Christian Eckes had a poor qualifying effort and wayward adjustments, the ThorSport Racing driver scored a top-five finish at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.
The 21-year-old didn’t enter the top-five until the final Stage of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. Back-to-back cautions allowed Eckes to hold off his ThorSport teammate, Ben Rhodes for some time. Ultimately, Rhodes snuck by and eventually took the win. Meanwhile, Eckes battled with Parker Kligerman, Buddy Kofoid, Ty Majeski, and NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano for position.
In the closing laps, Kofoid and Majeski were swept up in an accident. That left Eckes to battle Kligerman and Logano for a top-five finish. Kligerman was strong on the inside. Meanwhile Logano challenged Eckes on the outside. Ultimately, Eckes slipped to be a second behind the Henderson Motorsports driver. He held off the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series champion by a couple truck lengths for fifth.
“I just struggled there at the end,” admitted Eckes. “I thought we were pretty good in the first stage, but we’ve made a couple adjustments. It didn’t work too well, but I got in a couple of good situations on the restart in the outside lane and came home fifth. Definitely a good day.”
Eckes was behind the proverbial eight-ball throughout the Pinty’s Truck Race on Dirt. After the Heat races, the Middletown, NY native lined up in 19th. That forced Eckes to chase his way through the field. An adjustment at the end of Stage 1 to his No. 98 TSPORT / Curb Records Toyota Tundra TRD Pro didn’t improve the handling however.
“We started 19th, which obviously we didn’t want to do,” explained Eckes. “That put us behind the whole day. Really the only thing we could do is pit at Lap 40 at the first stage break and hold on.”
The fifth-place finish was the second top-five for Eckes in the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. It is also the 14th top-five of his career.
Despite the top-five finish, Eckes slipped from fifth to sixth in the championship points standings. He is 72-points behind leader, and teammate, Rhodes. Eckes is 30-points ahead of the playoff cutoff, held by fellow ThorSport driver Matt Crafton.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo.