CONCORD, N.C. – Venturini Motorsports has announced that Christian Eckes will return to the team for a full-season run at the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship next year.
The news comes on the heels of Eckes’ third ARCA victory of the season at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Eckes, a 17-year-old from Middletown, N.Y. and member of Toyota Racing Development’s TD2 program, returns to ARCA with three years of experience under his belt and ready to embark on his first full season, beginning at Daytona Int’l Speedway in February.
“This is an exciting and incredible opportunity,” said Eckes. “Coming back to Venturini Motorsports to compete for a championship and running under the Toyota banner is a dream come true and a result of a lot of hard work the last few years. It’s a proud moment.
“I have a ton of confidence in this organization to be able to come out next year and run at the highest level. We’ve already achieved success together, but I believe the best is yet to come. This is a tight group with a ton of heart and desire to succeed. I’m truly humbled,” Eckes continued. “I can’t thank everyone enough who’s helped me get to this point in my career. Venturini Motorsports and Toyota have played significant roles the last few years. Chances like this don’t come along easily. My commitment level has never been higher.”
Receiving high praises from team owner Billy Venturini, Eckes’ full-season schedule embodies everything it means and takes to be a successful development driver with VMS.
“Christian has been in the program since he was 15-yrs old. He epitomizes what being a VMS driver is all about with his tireless effort he puts in on and off the track,” noted Venturini. “We are really looking forward to another season with Christian. He’s been really exciting to watch this year. I think we’ll see a lot more of that in the future. It’s been a privilege to work with him and watch him mature as a person and driver.”
Since signing with VMS in 2016, Eckes has made 27 ARCA starts. Achieving notable success, the former Snowball Derby winner had a breakout season this year, earning his first career ARCA win at Salem Speedway in April before notching two more victories at Springfield’s dirt mile and at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Earning two General Tire Pole Awards along the way, Eckes has led 421 laps in just 13 starts this year. Over his three ARCA seasons combined, Eckes has tallied three wins, two poles, 10 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, along with 695 laps led.
“I’m really looking forward to it. Running the entire ARCA schedule next year is going to present a new set of challenges and opportunities, because the last few years I’ve only been able to run partial schedules,” said Eckes. “Knowing what we’re capable of achieving together is exciting. If we continuing doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll hopefully keep winning races and having more success along the way.
“As far as our goals, we definitely have the championship circled. It would mean so much to provide Venturini Motorsports with their first ARCA championship since Big Bill (Venturini) won two during his career. They’ve been around a long time and supported so many drivers over the years. It’s really cool to be a part of this team and having a chance to make my mark.”
Tapped earlier in the season by Kyle Busch Motorsports to compete in four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events, Eckes will return to action this weekend at Martinsville Speedway before wrapping up his quartet of starts at ISM Raceway in Arizona on Nov. 9.
Already with two truck series starts this season, Eckes impressed with a top-10 finish in his debut at Iowa Speedway and a stage win at Gateway Motorsports Park in his second start.