It was a difficult race for the Championship 4 at Phoenix Raceway as title contenders Corey Heim and Carson Hocevar wrecked each other and Grant Enfinger and Rhodes both suffered damage in separate incidents.
Zane Smith went into the first of four overtimes as the leader but was eventually caught up in one of the three restart wrecks.
On the final restart, Eckes got around leader Chase Purdy and managed to hold off Jake Garcia to earn his fourth victory of the 2023 season and fifth of his career.
Rhodes held on against a late charge from Enfinger to hang on to fifth, good enough to claim his second series title in three years.
“I can’t even believe it. This is so awesome, man,” Rhodes said. “To go 25-plus laps into overtime, do you know what that feels like? I didn’t think we were going to make it. I thought we were going to pop a tire and everything that could have gone wrong would go wrong.
“Grant almost got me. Hats off to him. He ran a great race. I wouldn’t want to race anybody else for the championship. He raced me clean, and I respect the hell out of him for it.”
Purdy ended up third, Jesse Love was fourth and Rhodes fifth.
Completing the top-10 were Enfinger, Dean Thompson, Kaden Honeycutt, Tanner Gray and Nick Sanchez.
Ty Majeski led every lap but held off a late charge from Heim by 0.238 seconds to take the Stage 1 win. Smith was third, Rhodes fourth and Sanchez rounded out the top five.
Heim edged Smith by 0.465 seconds to claim the Stage 2 win. Majeski was third, Eckes fourth and Kraus rounded out the top five.
Early in the stage, Marco Andretti got into Chris Hacker on the backstretch, which sent Hacker’s truck up the track and a hard hit into the Turn 3 wall. Both trucks were knocked out of the race.
Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, most of the lead-lap trucks with Smith the first off pit road. Eckes stayed on the track and inherited the lead with 51 laps remaining.
Connor Jones slammed into Jake Drew entering Turn 3 which placed the race under caution and set up a restart with 41 laps to go and Eckes still in the lead.
With 30 laps to go, while racing for position, Hocevar hit Heim – who was leading the championship contenders at the time – and he got into Stewart Friesen, sending him around.
Severa lead-lap trucks pit including Heim, and Sanchez led the field to green when the race resumed with 25 laps to go.
Shortly after Smith grabbed the…