By: Ashley McCubbin
Through six races this season, Christian Eckes has scored three top-10 finishes, including a fourth at Kansas Speedway. NEWS FROM THE PITS caught up with the New York native to get his thoughts heading into Watkin’s Glen.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: What are your thoughts on going to Watkins Glen after the break?
CHRISTIAN ECKES: Really looking forward to getting back in my No. 98 Tundra. It’s actually been a little longer than me as I haven’t raced since Pocono, doing the part time schedule. Watkins Glen is going to be an interesting race for the truck series in general. Many drivers it’ll be their first race there and many teams do not have much information for that race track, so it’ll be fun.
Road courses aren’t really my specialty but starting to get better at them so hopefully we can have a good run.
ASHLEY: You mentioned it – Watkins Glen is a track that not a lot of teams or drivers have experience at. How have you gone about preparing for the weekend?
CHRISTIAN: The preparation is going to be pretty big this week. There’s some film that we have to watch and we have stuff from the Xfinity and Cup that we can look over, but the trucks drive so much different than that so it’ll be a challenge for sure. Luckily, TRD has their simulator and there’s multiple ways there to get as ready as good as possible.
ASHLEY: What are your thoughts on how the season has gone for you?
CHRISTIAN: I feel like we’ve ran okay. I feel like we haven’t been perfect in any means, but we’ve shown speed at times and should have better finishes than we’ve gotten. At the same aspect, we’ve had some good runs and proven that we can compete. We are hoping to be a bit better for the next four races we have.
ASHLEY: As a driver, what do you feel you need to improve upon to be even better?
CHRISTIAN: For whatever reason, I struggle with the middle of runs and maintaining speed necessary to run better. It’s a little bit on me, little bit on the team to find the middle of run speed. We are always fast at the beginning, and come on strong at the end. if we can put the middle together, we can be in better contention.
ASHLEY: With having the spread out schedule, how do you stay sharp to make the most of your races?
CHRISTIAN: I run the go-kart at GoPro Motorplex often to stay in shape. You’re trying to not get behind, and get run down as possible.
ASHLEY: I got to circle back around to Watkins Glen. It has to feel pretty special having that race on your schedule.
CHRISTIAN: Oh yeah, for sure. I’m sure some family will come out to watch me and before now, there was only one race that they could come to which was Pocono. So it’s great to have both of those races now. My old house is about three hours away from Watkins Glen so it’s pretty cool. I don’t think I’ve raced any NASCAR stuff in New York so it’ll be cool to do that for sure.
ASHLEY: With how your career path has progressed and changed, where do you see yourself five years from now?
CHRISTIAN: I’m not really sure. There are so many things that can change, like last year if you would’ve asked me I would’ve answered different. This sport is so finical to where your future is not a guarantee, so hopefully I am still racing and competitively in one of the top three series. That’s the overall goal going forward. We’ll see how it goes, but I feel pretty good about it.
ASHLEY: With having ran a partial schedule this year, how much would it mean to you to get back full-time?
CHRISTIAN: It’d mean a lot. Definitely humbling experience going from full-time and racing for points and doing everything that you want to be doing, to cutting back and running part-time. It’s defiantly made a lot more hungry this year, and made me appreciate the opportunities that I’ve gotten in the past more. So if I could get that step up and go back full-time racing, it’d definitely mean a lot. I now understand the full extent of going full-time and having the opportunity again would be really special.