Salem winner Eckes hopes to keep victory stretch alive at Toledo

CONCORD, N.C. (May 18, 2018) - The last time Christian Eckes raced in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards he drove his No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota to Victory Lane at Salem Speedway. Eckes held off his Venturini Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith over the final 50 laps to earn his career-first ARCA win.

Eckes hopes to continue his victory stretch this weekend at Toledo Speedway in the 77th running of the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care.

Sunday's race will be Eckes' second start on Toledo's half-mile and his 17th career ARCA start overall.

"I'm excited to get back out on the track at Toledo," said Eckes. "We made it over the hump last time out and got us one. I'm excited. We've got a great car lined up for Sunday. I don't expect any let downs."

Eckes, 17, tested at Toledo last Monday.

"Toledo is a fast half-mile. It's really line-sensitive. During last week's test we improved on the car. We should have a good shot."

In last year's Menards 200, Eckes led 15 laps and finished eighth after starting second.

After the first four races of 2018, Venturini Motorsports' No. 15 Toyota is leading the car owner standings.

"This 15-team led by my crew chief, Kevin Reed, is feeling good and has a lot of confidence right now," Eckes said. Eckes shares the 15 car with teammate Michael Self, who won the season opener at Daytona.

"With my age and the way my schedule is laid out I'm only running 13 races. Self is running the majority of the others in the No. 15 Camry. I feel both of us take a lot of pride in the overall team success. He's done a great job. It's cool because I think his success keeps the pressure on me to do my part."

Eckes, of Middletown, N.Y., will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) June 16 at Iowa Speedway as part of a four-race deal with KBM.

Toledo Weekend Schedule

The Menards 200 spreads out over two days with ARCA Racing Series practice scheduled from 12:30 - 2 p.m. Saturday, May 19, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 4. Pre-race ceremonies for the Menards 200 presented by Federated Car Care get under way at 1:30 Sunday afternoon, May 20. The Menards 200 is live on MAVTV at 2 p.m. Eastern. Follow all the on-track action through live timing, scoring and chat at


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 county. 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.

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