Christian Eckes clinches the first win in the truck series for McAnally Hilgemann Racing in Atlanta

Christian Eckes impressively edged out Nick Sanchez in the final round of Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in Atlanta to claim the maiden win for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. PC: Jonathan McCoy |

In only his third start for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, Christian Eckes gave the organization its first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win and clinched victory in Saturday’s Fr8 Auctions 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Eckes, who has bounced between different organizations over the past several years, put together a masterful NASCAR overtime restart to earn his second NASCAR Truck Series win and first for Chevrolet.

After the fourth start, the New York native of Middletown, New York, secured the race lead on the first lap and maintained his position at the top of the scoring pole through the end of the first leg of the race.

However, it was a mixed strategy that placed the NAPA Auto Care-sponsored entry in the back half of the field, forcing him to fight and pick his way back through the field and put himself in a position to pull out of a late restart to capitalize on the race .

Eckes led the field that came to the start/finish line to take the white flag and was determined to be the official winner of the event, but what happened in the 1.5 miles in between makes up the triumph Saturday even more impressive.

Nick Sanchez, a rookie-of-the-year contender for Rev Racing, moved aggressively into the inside of turn one and secured first place ahead of the No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado. That was short-lived, however, as Eckes – with an aggressive push from Ben Rhodes – lashed out and nailed the No. 2 to the inside lane.

Unfortunately, the start-finish line was not what determined Saturday’s official finish order for the first of two races at Atlanta Motor Speedway after a multi-track accident occurred on the final lap involving Tyler Ankrum, Stewart Friesen, and other.

Despite pointing to the infield on the exit of turn four, Nick Sanchez remained second while John Hunter Nemechek was third at the time of the caution. Bayley Currey secured a career-best fourth for Niece Motorsports while Ben Rhodes finished in the top five.

Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Purdy, Timmy Hill, Matt Crafton and Jack Wood completed the top-10 in a caution-packed event at the newly designed 1.5-mile “superspeedway-like” facility.

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series departs Atlanta for Austin, Texas for its first street course event of the season at the Circuit of The Americas, a race that will be held next Saturday, March 25th.


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