Event: Gander RV 150 (Race 14 of 23), 60 Laps – 15/15/30; 150 MilesLocation: Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa. (2.5-mile tri-oval)Date/Broadcast: July 27, 2019 at 1 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR 90 What You Need to Know
- Christian Eckes will pilot the No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Pocono Raceway on Saturday. The 18-year-old will be making his first NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start at the Tricky Triangle. Eckes, who hails from nearby Middletown, N.Y., has three ARCA Racing starts at the facility with one top-five and one top-10 finish. His best result was a third-place finish in this year’s June race. This weekend Eckes will be doing double duty with the ARCA Menards Series race on Friday afternoon. He has one win, two poles, seven top-five and 11 top-10 finishes across 13 starts and currently sits third in the ARCA standings despite missing one race due to illness.
- Eckes’ last start for KBM was at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway where he started at the front of the field after qualifying was rained out, led a race-high 57 circuits and was competing for the lead when he was spun out on the final lap, ultimately finishing 14th. Overall in six Gander Trucks starts since making his series debut last June, the talented teenager has recorded 58 laps led, three top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 6.0 and average finish of 15.0.
- Veteran crew chief Rudy Fugle leads the No. 51 team this season. Fugle has guided his team to four Owner’s Championships (2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017) as a crew chief at KBM, including combined Owner’s/Driver’s Championships with Erik Jones in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. The New York native’s drivers have combined for 28 wins, 22 poles, 64 top-five and 99 top-10 finishes across his 126 races calling the shots for the organization. Fugle’s drivers have earned two wins in five races at Pocono Raceway, with William Byron winning in 2016 and Christopher Bell earning the victory in 2017. In 2018, fill-in driver Erik Jones finished runner-up to owner-driver Kyle Busch with Fugle at the helm. Fugle’s record includes two wins, three top-five finishes and four top-10 finishes with an average starting position of 10.2 and an average finish of 5.8.
- After 13 races in 2019, the No. 51 team leads the owner’s points standings by 12 points over second place. The team has earned five wins with owner-driver Kyle Busch behind the wheel and one win with veteran driver Greg Biffle at Texas Motor Speedway. The team has two poles, eight top-five and nine top-10 finishes.
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What are you looking forward to this weekend?
“Pocono has always been a really good place that I enjoy going to because it’s so different and there’s a lot of variables that go into it. I’ve always had a blast there in an ARCA car and I’m really excited to get in my No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra this weekend with Rudy (Fugle, crew chief) and all those guys because they do such a great job. I’m ready to go see what we’ve got.”
Is this kind of a home race for you?
“Yeah, I guess you could say so. It’s about an hour or an hour and half away from where I used to live in Middletown (N.Y.). I guess I’ll have a lot of family and friends in the stands and it will be cool to have them out there.”
How does double duty change your mindset?
“I did it at Gateway about a month ago now. It’s definitely challenging going from car to car, because they’re so different – the Camrys and the Tundras – so it will be a little challenging this weekend, but I’m ready to take on the challenge and pick up two wins.”
Christian Eckes Career Highlights
- In February, Eckes earned his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series pole at Daytona International Speedway in just his fifth series start. Overall in six Gander Trucks starts since making his series debut last June, he has recorded three top-10 finishes, an average starting position of 6.0 and average finish of 15.0.
- Eckes has recorded one win, two poles, 226 laps led, six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes across 12 ARCA Racing Series starts in 2019. His victory this year came in May at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
- Overall in 40 career ARCA Series starts, Eckes has posted four wins, four poles, 930 laps led, 17 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 7.7.
- The talented teenager put his name on the motorsports map when he won the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Fla., in December of 2016. The then 15-year-old battled side-by-side with John Hunter Nemechek for the final two laps before narrowly edging him to the finish line. The Snowball Derby win was part of a three-race winning streak in Late Models to close out the 2016 season after the teenager was victorious in the Myrtle Beach 400 Late Model Stock event at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Speedway and the Thanksgiving Classic All-Star Super Late Model race at Southern National Motorsports Park in Kenly, N.C.
Christian Eckes’ No. 51 SiriusXM Tundra:KBM-058:
The No. 51 SiriusXM team will unload chassis KBM-058 for Saturday’s Gander RV 150. This chassis is 1-for-1 with owner-driver Kyle Busch piloting to the victory earlier this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the chassis’ first outing.
KBM-058 Performance Profile:
|Starts||Wins||Average Start||Average Finish||Laps Led|
KBM Notes of Interest
- KBM drivers have 20 starts at Pocono Raceway and have earned four wins, nine top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 7.8 and an average finish of 7.6.
- KBM drivers have won the last four Gander Trucks races at Pocono Raceway with owner-driver Kyle Busch victorious in 2015 and 2018, while William Byron triumphed in 2016 and Christopher Bell won in 2017.
- KBM holds the Gander Truck Series records for most career wins (74) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). In addition to collecting a series-record six Owner’s Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers; Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
- The No. 51 is the winningest number in the KBM stable with 30 trips to victory lane in Gander Trucks action.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!