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Race report
NASCAR Truck Kansas II

Eckes earns Kansas Truck win with daring three-wide pass

Christian Eckes took the field three-wide on a restart with two laps remaining and held on to win Friday night’s NASCAR Truck race at Kansas Speedway.

Race winner Christian Eckes, McAnally Hilgemann Racing, Chevrolet Silverado

Eckes – who hadn’t led a lap all night – lined up fourth on the final restart with Corey Heim out front. He went to the outside of Heim and Zane Smith in Turn 3 and the three briefly bounced off each other before Eckes darted to the inside to clear them both for the lead.

Eckes then held off Taylor Gray by 0.363 seconds at the checkered flag to secure his third victory of the 2023 season but first since Darlington in May.

 

“That was wild. I didn’t know if I could win or not,” Eckes said. “We had sixth place truck all day but that caution came out and I thought we had a shot at it. We hadn’t won in a really long time and I kind of wanted to set the tone.

“What a hell of way to end the Round of 10 – second, third, first.”

Matt DiBenedetto ended up third, Heim fourth and Smith completed the top five.

Joining Eckes in the three-race semifinal round of the Truck playoffs are Heim, Smith, Carson Hocevar, Grant Enfinger, Nick Sanchez, Ben Rhodes and Ty Majeski.

DiBenedetto and Matt Crafton were eliminated from further title contention.

Stage 1

Sanchez claimed the Stage 1 win when a spin by Kaden Honeycutt placed the race under caution with three of 30 laps remaining. It was his third stage victory of the 2023 season.

Chase Purdy was second, Rhodes third, Heim fourth and Eckes completed the top five.

Stage 2

Hocevar cruised to the Stage 2 win by 2.189 seconds over Sanchez. Heim was third, Smith fourth and Enfinger fifth.

Hocevar went to the inside of Sanchez with 11 laps to go in the stage and came away with the lead for the first time in the race.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, the lead-lap trucks all pit with Heim the first off pit road. He led the race over Sanchez when the race returned to green with 66 laps to go.

Crafton, who was battling for a playoff spot, hit the wall hard off of Turn 2 on Lap 72 and began falling back through the field.

 

With 61 laps remaining, Rhodes fell off the pace after he made contact with the wall as well.

Heim was the first to hit pit road with 39 laps to go to kick off a final round of green flag pit stops to take on new tires and fuel to make it to the end of the race.

Enfinger was caught speeding during his pit stop and was forced to serve a pass-through penalty. He dropped to 17th in the running order. Once the cycle of stops was completed, Heim led the way with 27 laps remaining.

Mason Maggio wrecked off Turn 4 which set up a restart with nine laps to go and Heim leading Hocevar and Smith.

A wreck involving Rajah Caruth and Tanner Gray set up another restart with two laps remaining and Heim still in command.

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