HAMPTON, GEORGIA - MARCH 18: Christian Eckes, driver of the #19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 18, 2023 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
NASCAR’s Craftsman Truck Series raced at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon. Who took home the trophy?
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series traveled to Atlanta Motor Speedway for the third event of the 2023 season.
Zane Smith, the defending champion and winner at Daytona a few weeks ago, started the race on the pole, followed by Ty Majeski, Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes and Carson Hocevar to round out the top five.
Last year, rookie Corey Heim took home the checkered flag in just his fifth career start. The young prospect is running full-time this year and is coming off back-to-back top 10 finishes.
Notable entrants in Saturday’s race included full-time Xfinity Series driver John Hunter Nemechek and 49-year-old Akinori Ogata making his first start since around this time last season.
NASCAR Truck Series: Christian Eckes seals the deal at Atlanta for second career victory
Christian Eckes beat out polesitter Zane Smith to win Stage 1, earning some precious playoff points in the process. The series’ most experienced driver Matt Crafton beat out Majeski to win Stage 2.
The end of the race was action packed as some of the frontrunners, Tyler Ankrum and Stewart Friesen, who were running seventh and eighth, wrecked themselves and wound up finishing 22nd and 26th, respectively.
In the end, it was the 22-year-old Eckes who took home the checkered flag. This was his second victory in the series. Eckes drivers for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, a team that hasn’t secured many wins over the years but has routinely ran in the top 10. As a matter of fact, Eckes’ victory is the first in team history.