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Christian Eckes Wins Long John Silver’s 200 Truck Series Race at Martinsville

Christian Eckes celebrates in victory lane after winning the Long John Silver's 200 at Martinsville Speedway. Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton | Getty Images

Christian Eckes and McAnally Hilgemann Racing continued their short track dominance in 2024, taking home the victory in Friday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Long John Silver’s 200 at Martinsville Speedway. Eckes, the winner at Bristol Motor Speedway a few weeks ago, picked up his second race win of the season. Eckes also swept both stages in his No. 19 Chevrolet and led 133 laps, the most of any driver.

“It’s a good day to be in victory lane,” Eckes stated in his post-race interview. “Can’t wait for that clock”.

Ty Majeski finished second in his No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford after winning the pole with a track record time. Majeski also led 66 laps, second only to Eckes. Chase Purdy finished third, his best finish of the season. Daytona winner Nick Sanchez, who was the only other driver to lead laps in the race, and Tyler Ankrum rounded out the top five, continuing a very strong start to the season for Ankrum.

Taylor Gray, Las Vegas winner Rajah Caruth, Sammy Smith, Kaden Honeycutt, and COTA winner Corey Heim comprised the remainder of the top 10. Smith, running his second-ever race in the NASCAR Truck Series, was part of a three-driver effort to put three entries into the top-10 for Spire Motorsports, the first time the organization has accomplished such a feat.

Before the green flag, the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Blake Lothian dropped fluid on the race track, delaying the start of the race. Lothian, making his first Truck Series start since IRP in 2022, went to the garage shortly after the race started, finishing 34th place, 183 laps behind eventual race-winner Eckes.

The first 30 laps of the race were run under green, with the streak ending on a Thad Moffitt spin in turn three. The No. 46 Faction 46 Chevrolet did not suffer any damage and was able to continue.

The next caution would be on lap 66 for a multi-truck incident in turn one. Matt Crafton’s No. 88 Ford got into the back of Tanner Gray’s No. 15 Toyota, sending Gray spinning in the middle of track. The rest of the field managed to avoid Gray, but Mason Massey made slight contact with Justin Carroll’s No. 90 Toyota while attempting to slow down for the spin. Crafton received slight right front damage and was able to continue along with the rest of the trucks involved.

The rough start to the season for Layne Riggs would continue shortly after this incident, as the No. 38 Ford spun in turn two on lap 76. Riggs received contact from Jack Wood, who himself was bumped by Sammy Smith into turn one. The Front Row Motorsports entry did not sustain any damage and was able to continue in the race.

Stage two would end under caution as a result of another multi-truck incident. On lap 98, Daniel Dye got into the back of Spencer Boyd, sending the No. 76 Chevrolet around. As Boyd was spinning, his right rear bumper collided with the left rear bumper of Riggs, causing the No. 38 to spin for a second time. Unlike the first spin, Riggs’s truck hit the outside wall, causing damage to the left side of the truck.

The next incident occurred on Lap 134, when Kaden Honeycutt got loose out of turn two and spun his No. 45 Chevrolet. Honeycutt was able to keep his truck out of the wall and continued in the event.

Arguably the biggest hit by any driver of the race was by Dean Thompson on lap 146. Going into turn one, Ben Rhodes got into the back of Grant Enfinger, sending him up the track into Thompson. The contact between Enfinger and Thompson cut the left front tire of the No. 5, causing the truck to go straight into the outside wall. Thompson would climb out of the truck under his own power, ending his race prematurely.

Video: Dean Thompson’s Martinsville Race Ends Prematurely After Big Hit in Turn One

The race would not stay green for long, as another incident took place on lap 158 involving Bret Holmes and Justin Carroll. Going into turn one, Kaden Honeycutt ran into the back of Holmes’ No. 32 Chevrolet, sending him spinning and into Carroll. The No. 90 took a big hit to the outside wall on the driver’s side and retired from the race, while Holmes did not make contact with the wall. Honeycutt and his crew chief were called to the NASCAR hauler post-race as a result of this incident.

Another multi-truck accident took place just after the restart, with Jack Wood and Jake Garcia among the drivers involved. On lap 166, a big stackup in turn three caused multiple trucks to spin, including Garcia, Wood, Lawless Alan, and Cam Waters. Alan’s No. 33 Ford suffered by far the most damage of any truck involved and would not be able to continue, while the rest of the trucks made repairs and rejoined the field.

Waters would not be able to continue much longer, however, as he would be involved in another accident on lap 177. Grant Enfinger made contact with Layne Riggs, sending the No. 38 around for the third time. Waters was unable to check up in time and ran into the back of his teammate Jake Garcia while attempting to slow down. Waters climbed from his No. 66 truck and retired from his first NASCAR start.

Earlier in the broadcast on FS1, reporter Jamie Howe stated that Waters would return to the No. 66 at Kansas Speedway to make his first start on an intermediate track.

Bayley Currey and Daniel Dye also received damage in this incident but were able to keep going like Riggs, Enfinger, and Garcia.

The 11th caution of the race occurred on Lap 190 when Enfinger got into the back of Stewart Friesen’s No. 52 coming out of turn two. Matt Mills was unable to stop in time and made contact with Friesen, causing major front-end damage to his No. 42 Chevrolet.

The race restarted with just three laps to go, and Eckes was able to fend off Majeski, Chase Purdy, and Nick Sanchez to take his second victory of the season. On the cooldown lap, Friesen made contact with Timmy Hill, sending the No. 56 Toyota spinning in turn one. Hill confronted Friesen on pit road after the race, with the two having a brief heated exchange.

With a repeat winner, no new drivers locked themselves into the 2024 Craftsman Truck Series playoffs. Eckes, Sanchez, Corey Heim, and Rajah Caruth remain the only four to have secured spots.

Leaving Martinsville, Ty Majeski takes over the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series point lead, holding a seven-point advantage over Corey Heim and Tyler Ankrum, who are tied for the runner-up spot. Christian Eckes and Taylor Gray round out the top-five.

The next Craftsman Truck Series race is scheduled for Friday, April 12, at Texas Motor Speedway, and will be broadcast by FS1.

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