Motorsport News

Christian Eckes Passes Nick Sanchez in Final Turn to Win Atlanta


There’s no Mickey Mouse about it.

Christian Eckes led 35 laps and won stage one en route to taking the Craftsman Truck Series win at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 18. It’s his second career win, with the first one coming back in 2021 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

More importantly, it was the first career Truck Series win for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. Owner Bill McAnally has several ARCA Menards Series wins, but never a Truck Series win.

Rookie Nick Sanchez came home second, just barely missing out on his first career win. John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five, respectively.

Top Storylines of the Race

The Positives:

  • Eckes had the truck to beat early on, as he led all 30 laps en route to the stage one win. A slow pit stop put him behind in stage two, and he only led five laps after that – but he showed up when it mattered most.
  • Sanchez and his Rev Racing team were finally able to put together a complete race. Despite some troubles throughout the race, including a crash with Corey Heim that ended Heim’s day, he made his way to the front and led late before taking home a second-place finish in his No. 2.
  • Matt Crafton was able to hold off Nemechek to win stage two. It is Crafton’s first stage win since he won stage two at Texas Motor Speedway in Oct. 2020. Despite being caught up in a late crash, he had a good points day and salvaged a ninth-place finish. He also led 29 laps on the day, more than he led in 2021 and 2022 combined.
  • Shoutouts are in order for Currey, who gained his best career finish in any of NASCAR’s premier series. Timmy Hill (seventh) and Jack Wood (10th) also had fantastic days and finished in the top 10.

The Negatives:

  • TRICON Garage had a horrible day. Four of its five trucks crashed in the event, with Nemechek the only truck to make it out of the ATL unscathed.
  • Likewise, Niece Motorsports fell apart at the very end of the race. A blown tire by Carson Hocevar on lap 124 sent him into the turn 3 wall, and teammate Lawless Alan could not get out of the way fast enough and ran right into the back of Hocevar, damaging both trucks. Currey was the lone Niece truck running in the top 10 at the finish.
  • Kaden Honeycutt’s promising day was cut short on lap 48. Honeycutt and his Roper Racing No. 04 took advantage of the choose rule for a lap 45 restart – he restarted second instead of seventh, taking the inside lane after the top six…

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