Eckes Rules DuQuoin’s Southern Illinois 100

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Christian Eckes exits his race car after winning the Southern Illinois 100 Saturday night.
Christian Eckes exits his race car after winning the Southern Illinois 100 Saturday night.

DUQUOIN, Ill. – Christian Eckes scored his third ARCA Menards Series victory of the season with a dominant performance in the Southern Illinois 100 on the Magic Mile at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.

Eckes started outside General Tire Pole Award winner Ken Schrader, and slipped past third-place started Kelly Kovski on lap 10 to take the lead and led the rest of the way to take his second career ARCA Menard Series win on dirt. He also won at Springfield in 2018.

“I don’t know if you can call me a dirt track expert just yet,” Eckes laughed in victory lane. “I tried to drive Springfield and DuQuoin like dirt tracks last year and burned everything off the car I could. We tried some new things here tonight and I drove the track more like a pavement track and it really paid off.”

Eckes finished in .443 seconds in front of his Venturini Motorsports teammate, and defending race winner, Logan Seavey. Seavey started tenth and methodically worked his way towards the front of the field. He utilized lap traffic to work past his other Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self to take over second with 28 laps to go. From there Seavey was able to stay within sight of Eckes but he couldn’t close in enough to seriously challenge.

“It stinks coming back here and finishing second,” Seavey said. “We worked our way to the front and caught a good break in traffic to get past Michael but we didn’t quite have enough to close in on Christian.”

Corey Heim finished third. He rebounded from a disappointing seventh-place result at Springfield after restarting second with two laps to go.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” Heim said. “We should have finished no lower than third at Springfield but ended up seventh. We had a great night here today but I would have liked to have started a little closer to the front. If we qualified a little better we wouldn’t have had to have worked so hard to get to the front and might have had a shot at running Christian down for the win.”

Self finished fourth and gave up 35 points to Eckes in the hunt for the ARCA Menards Series championship.

“The lapped cars were tough tonight,” Self said. “I get you want to race hard and stay on the lead lap but you also need to respect the leaders of the race. They didn’t give a lot of room out there for sure. We lost a position late in the race to lapped car. Maybe I could have been a little more aggressive, I don’t know.”

Illinoisan Kelly Kovski finished fifth.

The finish:

Christian Eckes, Logan Seavey, Corey Heim, Michael Self, Kelly Kovski, Riley Herbst, Travis Braden, Ken Schrader, Bret Holmes, Ryan Unzicker, Joe Graf Jr., Bobby Gerhart, Tommy Vigh Jr., Tim Richmond, Carson Hocevar, Brad Smith, Tyler Speer, Will Kimmel, Dick Doheny, Wayne Peterson.