Thanks to the twin-bill format of the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Tour, drivers can attempt “double duty” and run feature-length races in both a Late Model Stock and Super Late Model machine in one night. Christian Eckes took advantage of that opportunity Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway, finishing second in the Super Late Model 125-lap feature of the HKY Soup Kitchen Race to End Hunger 250.
Eckes piloted an LFR Chassis Super Late Model, making his first CARS Super Late Model Tour start of the season for the team. In the Late Model Stock feature, Eckes continued his season-long campaign for JR Motorsports, sitting eighth in points entering the race.
Eckes had high hopes for the Super Late Model race, thanks to the car’s performance during the Pro All Stars Series’ Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory in March. Motor problems cost Eckes a qualifying run and a chance to make the 34-car main event in that race, but the pace shown before that event gave Eckes confidence entering this weekend.
“We had a good car at the Easter Bunny,” Eckes said. “Unfortunately, we had some motor issues in that race. So we knew we had a pretty good car.”
Eckes’ optimism proved worthwhile following final practice, as Eckes set the fastest time during the second Super Late Model tuning session. Eckes backed it up by qualifying on the pole for the Super Late Model feature. That performance carried over to the race, as Eckes led the first 105 laps before eventual winner Raphael Lessard took the lead.
“At the end there, we just got a little bit too free,” Eckes said about the race. “It cost us a little bit. I think if a caution came out and the tires cooled down a little bit, we would have been alright.”
The Late Model Stock race proved to be more challenging for Eckes, although he largely survived the more chaotic of the two races of the evening. Eckes finished ninth in the Late Model Stock field despite a couple of spins.
“I felt like we had a solid fourth-place car in the Late Models,” Eckes said about his second race of the evening. “Unfortunately, we got spun out twice. Overall, a great weekend for us.”
While Eckes made starts in both the Super Late Model and the Late Model Stock CARS Tours in 2015, this was his first time running both in the same weekend. With his partnerships with LFR Chassis and JR Motorsports, he hopes to add more doubleheaders to his schedule at future CARS Tour races.
“I definitely think we’ll try it some more,” Eckes said on the possibility of more double duty weekends. “We’re talking about going to Kenly [the next CARS Tour race] for maybe Double Duty. We’ll just have to figure out all the details on that. Hopefully I can get back in the Super. I don’t get a lot of chances to drive the Super, and when we do it’s always a blast.”