Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes signs with Venturini for 2017

Snowball Derby winner Christian Eckes signs with Venturini for 2017

INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 9, 2016) – Announced today from the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis, 16-year-old Christian Eckes will return to Venturini Motorsports (VMS) for nine short track races in the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season.

Today’s announcement comes on the heels of Eckes’ dramatic super late model victory earlier in the week at the 49th annual Snowball Derby.

Eckes, a native of Middletown, N.Y., made four ARCA starts with VMS in 2016.

“We got to race with Christian a little bit last year and he demonstrated a lot of potential and raw speed,” said Billy Venturini, VMS team owner and general manager. “Toward the end of 2016 he was able to further demonstrate those abilities and turn them into impressive late model wins. We feel very confident going into the 2017 season that Christian is going to have great success.”

Eckes will rejoin VMS driving the No. 15 Toyota Camry starting at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway April 8. Eckes’ 2017 ARCA schedule will also include Salem Speedway (April 30), Toledo Speedway (May 21), Elko Speedway (June 3), Madison International Speedway (June 23), Iowa Speedway (July 8), Lucas Oil Raceway (July 21), Winchester Speedway (August 6) and Salem Speedway (September 9).

“I’m happy to announce my return to the ARCA Series with Venturini for next season,” said Eckes.

“Coming off a few big wins in the last couple of months I’m excited to start focusing on next season’s efforts. The Venturini team is a great organization to be aligned with and I’m confident we’ll enjoy success. Last season we made a handful of starts together and I learned a lot, making the transition from the super late models to the ARCA car has definitely been a learning experience but overall a smooth transition. I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself and this team...I’m determined to come out and compete for wins and top-fives right away.”

Veteran crew chief Jeff McClure will coordinate efforts for Eckes and the 15 team during the 2017 campaign. Since joining Venturini Motorsports in 2013, McClure has gone to victory lane three times (Todd Gilliland ’15 and twice with Christopher Bell ‘16). Sponsorship for Eckes will be named at a later date.

Eckes, a high school Junior honor student, split his 2016 season running multiple series including ARCA, NASCAR K&N, CARS Tour and the PASS Series along with a variety of high profile late model and super late model events.

During a demanding 2016 schedule, Eckes completed his 37-race breakout season with an impressive stat sheet earning three wins, 17 top-fives and 25 top-10 finishes. His three wins came in succession to wrap up his season in three of the biggest late model events in the country – the Myrtle Beach 400, Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsports Park and the Snowball Derby.

Entering their 35th year of ARCA Series competition, Venturini Motorsports is widely-known for their driver development success, recording 43 team victories during their longstanding series involvement. Thirty of VMS’s all-time victories have been earned since 2008.

For more information on Christian Eckes visit, Christian Eckes (Facebook) and @ChristianEckes (Twitter).