Eckes Leads The Way During Pocono ARCA Test

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Christian Eckes was fastest in Wednesday's ARCA Menards eries open test at Pocono Raceway. (Kyle Magda photo)

LONG POND, Pa. – Inclement weather shortened Wednesday’s open test session for the ARCA Menards Series at Pocono Raceway, which was topped by championship contender Christian Eckes.

The session, originally scheduled from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. ET, started an hour late due to fog and was shortened by about two hours due to rain.

Eckes and his Venturini Motorsports teammate Chandler Smith led the way, just in front of Chad Bryant Racing teammates Corey Heim and Charlotte winner Ty Majeski.

Canadian young gun Raphael Lessard rounded out the top five.

Eckes turned a fast lap at 53.178 seconds (169.243 mph) with his No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota, just five hundredths of a second faster than Smith, who timed in at 53.221 seconds (169.106 mph) with the No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota.

Smith, at just 16 years of age, is not eligible to race in the May 31 General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200, but he will be ready to compete during the series’ follow-up visit on July 26.

Like Smith, Heim is also just 16 and not eligible to race on Friday. He turns 17 on July 15 and he will also be eligible to compete in the series’ next appearance in July.

Heim timed in at 53.226 seconds (168.963 mph) with the No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford), just in front of Majeski’s fast lap of 53.480 seconds (168.287 mph).

Lessard led the most laps in his only ARCA appearance to date this year at Five Flags Speedway, and used Wednesday’s test to gain official approval to compete on intermediate tracks.

The 17-year-old’s fastest lap was 53.953 seconds (166.812 mph) for KBR Development.

Riley Herbst was sixth, ahead of current ARCA Menards Series championship leader Michael Self, defending race winner Harrison Burton, rookie Cole Glasson and Joe Graf Jr., who was piloting a third Chad Bryant Racing Ford on Wednesday during the Pocono test.

The only incident of the day involved Burton, who came to a stop on track after cutting a left front tire.

Burton did not make contact and was brought back to the garage without any damage.