LAS VEGAS (AP) — Rookie Christian Eckes held off teammate Ben Rhodes and crossed the finish line under a caution flag for his first career win in the NASCAR Trucks Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday night.
In addition to Eckes and Rhodes, their Thorsport Racing teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter finished third and fourth respectively.
The sweep marked the first time in truck series history the top four finishes represented the same team.
With his second-place finish, Rhodes moved into first for the playoff lead. John Hunter Nemechek, Friday's pole winner, won Stage 1 on Lap 30, marking his series-best 11th stage win of the season.
“Man, this is big,” said the emotional 20-year-old Eckes from Greenville, New York whose been racing on a part-time schedule. “It's been a tough year since last November. Hopefully I proved I can still do this.”
Racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports last year, Eckes saw his playoff hopes evaporate in a final lap crash at Talladega Speedway last October.
Friday's race restarted with just four laps remaining after a late-race caution. Todd Gilliland — who finished fifth — had the lead on the restart but lost it on the first lap back under green.
“I couldn't be more proud of Thorsport Racing; super proud of Christian Eckes," Rhodes said. Eckes was the beneficiary of a shove from Rhodes coming out of the last green.
The Round of 8 continues Oct. 2 at Talladega Superspeedway with the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 250.
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