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Christian Eckes Survives Late-Race Overtime Chaos at Darlington

NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series driver Christian Eckes burns out his tires after winning at Darlington Raceway, NKP

For the second time this season, Christian Eckes captured the checkered flag. The 22-year-old led for most of the day (May 12) and controlled the closing stages of the race despite a flurry of late-race cautions at Darlington Raceway.

This is Eckes’s third-career win in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

With two laps to go, Timmy Hill blew a tire and spun bringing out the caution, setting up NASCAR overtime.

On the first attempt, Jake Garcia, who had been running in the top 10 all day, spun on the backstretch and brought out the caution again.

For the final attempt, Eckes pulled away from Stewart Friesen and Tanner Gray. Eckes made it to the white flag when last week’s winner, Grant Enfinger, had trouble on the frontstretch and NASCAR threw the caution.

Friesen battled his way to the front after a majority of the late-race after running in the top 10 for most of the day. His second-place finish is the best finish of the season for Friesen.

Tanner Gray, who also ran in the top 10 throughout the evening, also capitalized on the late race chaos to capture a podium finish.

William Byron, who had a strong truck all night, finished fourth. Carson Hocevar finished fifth after coming back from spinning off the truck of Rajah Caruth earlier in the race; the latter finished sixth.

Bubba Wallace, Corey Heim, Kaden Honeycutt, and Dean Thompson rounded out the top 10.

Heim, who qualified on the pole, led the opening stages until he surrendered the lead to Eckes. Eckes went on to win stage one over Heim after passing him in lap traffic. Heim also held the lead for the majority of stage two until Byron passed him in the closing laps to take the stage win. He made very bold moves at the end of the race on fresher tires to rebound from a bad pit strategy to finish eighth.

Nick Sanchez and Taylor Gray had a close moment at the end of stage two. The two were battling for position in turn 1, and both got loose and saved their trucks from spinning.

After the stage three restart, Chase Purdy, Colby Howard and co-points leader Zane Smith were involved in a wreck on the frontstretch after Zane Smith ran into a loose Matt Crafton.

Texas Motor Speedway winner Carson Hocevar was tagged in turn one with 34 to go while battling with rookie Rajah Caruth. Setting up pit strategy for some drivers. After the restart. Eckes took over the front spot.

After 14 laps, Lawless Alan took a spin and brought the caution out once again. Eckes…

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