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How Will Christian Eckes Make It to The Cup Series?

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Christian Eckes broke out in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series last season, and he’s improved more this year, leading the points 9 races in. The next step for Eckes could be the Cup Series, but, how does he get there?

  • Christan Eckes is in his 4th full-time season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but, he’s raced at least part-time in the series for longer. He’s been in the series since he was 17 and parlayed that into a solid early career.
  • However, Eckes might want more. Does he have what he needs to make it into the NASCAR Cup Series, or are other factors keeping him from doing so?
  • Fans are noticing Christian Eckes’ solid performances. However, they aren’t sure if Eckes has a path to the Cup Series.

What Teams Are Open for Eckes?

For Christian Eckes, readiness is not the issue. He’s 23 years old and has 100 Truck Series starts under his belt. He’s paid his dues regarding time, so what teams are open for him?

Eckes currently races for Chevy with McAnally-Hilgemann Racing. Chevy is quite full in the Cup Series for 2025. Hendrick Motorsports, Trackhouse, Richard Childress Racing, Spire, and JTG-Daugherty all have their drivers set for 2024.

That leaves one Chevrolet team for Eckes, Kaulig Racing. It would take a lot of funding, but Kaulig has some interesting plans up their sleeve.

In order to head to Cup, he might have to jump manufacturers. Toyota is packed across all series, so, that might not be an option. What about Ford?

Well, Ford does have Front Row Motorsports open, but, with SHR considering selling their charters, Ford may have to move some Cup Series drivers around. The openings might not be there for Eckes.

Eckes could jump into the Xfinity Series. Maybe someone like JRM, Stewart-Haas, or Kaulig, but, would it be that big of a jump? It could get him connected with a Cup Series team, but, it might not work.

Does He Have the Funding to Race in the Cup?

However, finding a ride is only half the battle for Eckes. He needs the funding, even if he decides to enter the lower series. Throughout 2023 and a good chunk of 2024, Eckes has been sponsored by NAPA Auto Parts.

Napa is predominantly a Bill McAnally sponsor, not an Eckes sponsor. Eckes has brought in companies like Gates Hydraulics and Instacoat Premium Products. Is it enough to jump up to Cup? Maybe, but, maybe not.

Could He Become a Truck Series Lifer?

Some drivers stick it out in the Craftsman Truck Series and make an entire career out of it. Examples of this include Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, and Ben Rhodes. Other drivers like Ron Hornaday Jr., Mike Skinner, and Todd Bodine raced in the Truck Series after spending time in the Cup Series.

Eckes could be on his way to a career like that. If there is no easy path up to the Cup Series, why not tick it out in the Truck Series and win races? Other drivers have done it.

However, it seems unlikely he’ll stick it out if he does get a Cup Series opportunity. The future for Christian Eckes could go multiple different directions.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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