Defending Snowball Derby champ, ARCA racer Eckes looking for repeat

Defending Snowball Derby champ, ARCA racer Eckes looking for repeat

CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 29, 2017) – With NASCAR and ARCA seasons in the rearview mirror, all eyes will shift focus to one of the most highly-anticipated late model races of the year – the 50th running of the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida Sunday, Dec. 3.

Last year, 16-year-old Christian Eckes shocked the motorsports world, out-dueling the all-star field to capture his first Snowball Derby championship. Easily the biggest victory of his young career, Eckes catapulted his name into the national spotlight becoming the youngest driver in history to win the event. 

Now at age 17, the Middletown, N.Y. driver returns to the site of his crowning accomplishment ready to defend his title. If he were to repeat in the win column, he would become just the fourth driver ever to win the event in back-to-back years.

“There’s no question winning last year’s Derby was the highlight of my career so far,” said Eckes. “Every driver dreams of the chance to hoist the Tom Dawson Trophy, and to have a chance to do it in consecutive years would be incredible.”

The Derby not only attracts the country’s top super late model drivers but also brings out some of the largest names in the sport.

“There’s a lot of pressure to compete against such a strong field of drivers. My Fury Race Car team has put a lot of work into this one. We’re really confident headed into the weekend and feel we’ve got a great piece to compete. But at the end of the day we’re going up against the best drivers who are just as hungry as we are. Anything can happen at the Derby. We’ve waited all year for our chance to defend our championship.”

Eckes' team built a new car and will unveil it this week at the Derby.

“The guys in the shop have put a lot of effort into building our new car. We tested earlier this month at Motor Mile Speedway. We had a great test…there’s a lot of speed in our Fury Race Cars Toyota. It’s now time to see what we’ve got.”

Already securing his spot in this year’s Snowball Derby, Eckes will begin his title defense Thursday, Nov. 30 with a practice day. Friday and Saturday will be highlighted by qualifying and final practice before the green flag drops for the 300-lap main event Sunday afternoon.

As already announced, Eckes is scheduled to race in 13 of 20 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards events in 2018 in the No. 15 New York Bus Sales Toyota with Venturini Motorsports. Eckes, who doesn't turn 18 until November 10, 2018, will not be eligible to race in the season opener at Daytona. Eckes finished an ARCA career-best 2nd at Winchester and Elko Speedways in 2017.

For more information on Christian Eckes, visit and follow him on Twitter @ChristianEckes and Facebook @ChristianEckesRacing.