Christian Eckes Wins In Atlanta As Field Crashes In Overtimeby Hunter Thomas March 18, 2023 1 comment
HAMPTON, Ga. – Christian Eckes won the Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday as the field crashed behind him in NASCAR Overtime.
Eckes kicked off Saturday’s race leading every lap in the opening 30-lap stage, but he was soon after caught speeding on pit road. The Middletown, NY native didn’t see the lead again until NASCAR Overtime.
In NASCAR Overtime, Eckes controlled the lead coming to the white flag, but as the field entered Turn 2, he was being challenged by Nick Sanchez who battled below on the low side. Sanchez solidified the lead once onto the backstretch; however, a bump from Ben Rhodes heading into Turn 3 gave Eckes the speed to battle back in the middle lane.
The momentum carried Eckes to the front as Sanchez held onto the low lane, and Rhodes hit the wall in the high lane. The field crashed behind the leaders, and in the end, it was Eckes winning his second-career race in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.
“I knew the 99 (Ben Rhodes) was trying to look at the top of (Turn) 3, which was expected, and I saw him after the race, and he said that he got a little loose, so that’s all I really heard from there,” Eckes said. “I was just focused on my job and focused on the 2 (Sanchez) more than anything to get by him.”
Sanchez held on to finish second, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Rhodes who bounced off the wall across the finish line. Rounding out the top-10 was Matt DiBenedetto, Chase Purdy, Timmy Hill, Matt Crafton and Jack Wood who overcame a spin while leading in the closing laps.
Eckes won Stages 1 and 3, and Matt Crafton won Stage 2.
Throughout the race, there were 17 lead changes among nine drivers. Nemechek led a race high of 53 laps.
The caution flew on 11 occasions for 58 laps.
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will visit Circuit of the Americas on Saturday, March 25 for the XPEL 225. Live coverage will broadcast on FS1 at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas/TheFourthTurn.com