It was a dominating race by the Venturini Motorsports team at Kansas Speedway and a battle between two championship contenders, Michael Self and Christian Eckes, that was decided by one position on the race track. Even an engine change would not stop Eckes from winning. The New York native took the lead on Lap 58, never looked back and went on to win the race and the ARCA Menards Series championship.
“The day didn’t go smoothly at all,” Eckes said. “We had an engine problem in qualifying and the guys had to change it an hour before the race. We started at the back and we were in the top 10 in five laps. The car was on a rail all night.”
When the Kansas 150 started, it was all Michael Self who was trying to hunt down Eckes for the championship as Eckes held the championship by 15 points. In the first half of the race, Self had the dominating car and it was his race to lose at that point.
There were only two cautions in the season finale. On Lap 39 the first caution flew for the No. 4 of Drew Dollar who was in the wall off Turn 4. During the first caution a round of pit stops was seen and a couple of drivers had issues. The No. 54 of Tanner Gray overshot his pit box and the No. 55 of Hailie Deegan was too fast entering pit road. The second yellow flew on Lap 52 for Tim Richmond in the No. 06 after he spun off Turn 2.
The Lap 52 caution was a pivotal moment in the race. After Self dominated the first half, it was Eckes turn to take the lead. And so he did. Eckes took the lead on Lap 58 and from there the Middletown, New York native held on and went on to win the championship and race.
It was Eckes’ first ARCA Menards Series championship of his career at age 18 and his fourth win of the season.
“It’s huge,” Eckes added, saying that winning the championship helped his confidence immensely. “It hasn’t been the smoothest of years but the fact we were able to win really boosted my confidence. We came back from missing a race and came back today from qualifying in the back. I can’t stress this enough of how good this team is coming back from these situations and we proved that today. I told them in the race, we can’t have what happened in qualifying define us. Everybody did a great job and that’s why we’re in victory lane.”
Self, Eckes’ teammate, finished second in the race.
“Second sucks,” Self said after visiting Eckes in victory lane. “I am thankful to have the opportunity to come and race for a championship. We won four times but we had a lot of ups and downs. I wish it would have turned out differently but I am really happy for Christian and the Venturini team. I just wish it played out in our favor tonight.”
Only one lead change took place between only two drivers. Two cautions slowed the pace for 12 laps. Eckes won the ARCA Menards Series championship by 25 points over Self.
- Christian Eckes, led 43 laps
- Michael Self, led 58 laps
- Ty Majeski
- Bret Holmes
- Travis Braden
- Tanner Gray
- Drew Dollar
- Hailie Deegan
- Joe Graf Jr., one lap down
- Gus Dean, one lap down
- Sheldon Creed, two laps down
- Harrison Burton, three laps down
- Carson Ware, three laps down
- Scott Melton, four laps down
- Ed Pompa, five laps down
- Riley Herbst, five laps down
- Tim Richmond, 10 laps down
- Eric Caudell, OUT, Electrical
- Tommy Vigh Jr., OUT, Vibration
- Brad Smith, OUT, Vibration
- Dick Doheny, OUT, Electrical
- Wayne Peterson, OUT, Brakes