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Eckes breaks slump with Top-3 finish

By Nick Lewis

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Vet Tix Camping World 200
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Christian Eckes finished third Saturday (June 6) at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Camping World Vet Tix 200 for his first Top-5 of the season.

Prior to the race today, Eckes’ highest finishing position came at Charlotte Motor Speedway a week-and-a-half ago where he finished in the 14th position.

Eckes said that his truck was really good on the short runs, but besides that the truck wasn’t that good. He said that he is glad they have a result they can build on after such a rough start to the season where he has finished in the top-15 one time.

The finish at Atlanta was a result of putting a whole race together according to Eckes and the execution in past races hasn’t been great.

“We kinda had a come-to-Jesus moment in the conference room this week trying to figure out what to do better,” said Eckes.

NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Vet Tix Camping World 200
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

“I feel like we’ve done that, we can finally start stringing some finishes together. It’s going to be big for momentum, this is what this sport is really about.”

This was Eckes’ first time at Atlanta Motor Speedway and unfortunately for him there was no practice or qualifying due to COVID-19. He has used preparation as a way to adjust to the new tracks he is visiting.

He said starting deep at Charlotte and not knowing how traffic contributed to his 14th-place finish. Starting from the pole at Atlanta helped him because he knew what he had to do which was hold it wide open.

As a result of the slump, Eckes decided to tweak his preparation and he kept doing something different in terms of preparation until it worked at Atlanta. He said that the balance of preparation is different for each person and Eckes thinks he found the balance that works for him.

“I went back to good old-fashioned film instead of going off the sim as much,” said Eckes. “I feel like we’re in a good balance right now and I felt like I was prepared to make moves and do the stuff I needed to do today. As far as the team stuff it’s only a matter of time.”

It’s a 50/50 split on how much the film and sim helps him in his preparation, said Eckes. He said the film is identical and the simulator is really close to what he’s looking for. The film is something that gives Eckes the extra boost of confidence during his preparation.

Eckes said that he is looking forward to Homestead next weekend where he hopes to have a chance to win and he wants to use the momentum and use the comfort they had in the truck this week to help them put together some good finishes.

He said the track has a similar level of grip and Eckes finished third at Homestead last year.

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