Christian Eckes Edges Out JRM Teammate Josh Berry for Myrtle Beach Victory

16 year old Christian Eckes celebrates in victory lane after a thrilling pass on the final lap. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

16 year old Christian Eckes celebrates in victory lane after a thrilling pass on the final lap. (Justin Kern/TheWeeklyRacer.com)

Myrtle Beach, SC – It was truly a race for the record books as 43 cars took the green flag Saturday night in the 2016 edition of the Myrtle Beach 400. The finale race of the Myrtle Beach Speedway season bring some of the best late model drivers from the east coast together to go to war not only for the check and the trophy but for the bragging rights.

Christian Eckes, 16 of Middletown, New York, was impressive early in the afternoon when he qualified in the third position, locking himself into the feature and saving twenty-five laps on his tires, a major key to success at Myrtle Beach. Eckes proved to be impressive from the drop of the green flag never falling outside of the top ten.

The 225 lap race was split into two segments the first being a 125-lap stent followed by a ten minute break where teams could make typical pit stop adjustments, add fuel and change up to four tires. Eckes did a great job saving his equipment and tires all while competing for spots within the top ten all night long.

After the intermission per se, Eckes started to turn the whick up and mounted a couple charges for the race lead. Using the top side to his advantage Christian was able to lead a few laps early but would be over taken by the likes of Lemons – before his motor expired going into three – Pulliam, Snider, and teammate Josh Berry.

Business really started picking up in the top ten as the laps counted down. Nose to tail and door-to-door, sometimes even up to three wide. Eckes really started to put the moves on the field with just under about ten laps to go. Working to get around Lee Pulliam to take the second position away, Eckes had to make things happen in a hurry to catch teammate Josh Berry who had opened up about a five to six car lead.

The five-car advantage that Berry had built was quickly lost in just under five laps. Eckes was clearly better on corner entry. The pass for the lead was on has the two went into turn three coming to two laps to go. Eckes was able to get under the #88 of Berry. Eckes tried to clear Berry out of two but couldn’t make it happen. The two would come off turn four even and take the white flag locked door to door. Berry making the outside line work to his advantage was giving it everything the car could handle. Eckes sailed the car off into three some how made it stick and came off turn four even up with Berry. The two would touch, Berry would be pinched up in the outside wall, just enough to stall his momentum and Christian Eckes would grab the checkered flag by maybe a foot or two.

“This is absolutely crazy,” Eckes said in victory lane. “We have finished second to him [Josh] so many times. Its good to finally be able to beat him its unbelievable it really is. To pass Lee Pulliam and get to Josh its just a huge confidence booster.”

“The last couple of laps were just insane,” Eckes explained. “We got to Lee and he raced us real clean, I really applaud him for that. We had a pretty good car there and we got to Josh fairly quick. I had a really good run coming out of four and I kind of got clear of him coming off two but I messed up a little bit and he got back up to me.”

“He [Josh] gave me plenty of room in three and four,” Christian told The Weekly Racer. “I knew I had to get everything I could coming to the line. I ran him into the wall a little bit there, which I kind of feel bad about but it’s the Myrtle Beach 400, its defiantly worth it I guess you could say. I am just really happy for this whole team.”

 

UNOFFICIAL MB400 Results

1.#1 Christian Eckes
2. #88 Josh Berry
3. #5 Lee Pullaim
4. #02 Justin Milliken
5. #2 Myatt Snider
6. #41 Trey Gibson
7. #03 Brenden Queen
8. #95 Chad McCumbee
9. #51 Kason Plott
10. #8 Tyler Hughes
11. #36 Anthony Anders
12. #60 Neil Meredith
13. #36 Neil Meredith
14. #12 Auston McDaniel
15. #32 Jerry Miracle
16. #87 Mike Looney
17. #97 Greg Edwards
18. #18 Jason York
19. #15 Dexter Canipe Jr.
20. #18 David Roberts
21. #26 Danny Edwards Jr.
22. #20 Sam Yarbrough
23. #51 Devin O’Connell
24. #17 Ryan Millington
25. #1 Blair Addis
26. #51 Matt Cox
27. #44 Justin Johnson
28. #4 Dylan Hall
29. #7 Michael Hardin
30. #94 Jamie Weatherford
31. #3 Willie Grainger
32. #00 Shane Lee
33. #27 Tommy Lemons Jr
34. #4 Annabeth Barnes-Crum
35. #30 Brian Vause
36. #5 Tyler English
37. #2 Kevin Leight
38. #11 Lucas Williams
39. #33 Macey Causey
40. #16 RD Smith
41. #34 Dylan Smith
42. #83 Matt Bowling
43. #5 Anthony Alfredo

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