Christian Eckes Returns to the Truck Series for First Start at Pocono
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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