It has been a month since NASCAR held its last race for the 2022 season but the team owners are hard at work continuing to build and strengthen their teams.
Craftsman Truck Series drivers Christian Eckes, Jake Garcia, and Rajah Caruth have all signed new contracts for the 2023 season.
McAnally Hilgemann Racing will be fielding two teams in the Truck Series this season with Christian Eckes driving the number 19 truck and Jake Garcia will be driving the number 35 truck and will be competing for the Rookie of the Year. MHR drivers will be running in a Chevrolet Silverado.
MHR has signed a multi-year extension with NAPA that extends a 32 year partnership.
Team co-owner Bill McAnally spoke on the team saying, “I’m ecstatic to get the season started. We have a lot to be optimistic about with bringing Christian (Eckes) into our program and Jake (Garcia) having his first full-time opportunity. We’ve enjoyed a tremendous relationship with NAPA and NAPA Auto Care and going into our 33rd year together is incredibly special. I’m excited about Christian’s experience and the potential Jake has to elevate our program and our partners.”
Christian Eckes spoke on his driving for MHR saying, “it’s
a true pleasure for me to be a part of MHR, the NAPA Racing family, and to contribute to growing this program into a championship-caliber organization. That’s what Bill, the team, and I have set out to achieve and I believe he has assembled a group that can make that goal a reality. To be part of the long-standing partnership with NAPA Racing, NAPA Auto Care, and MHR is an honor and I’m fully prepared to take full advantage of this great opportunity. I’m more motivated than ever to produce results with this team and ready to get to work with everyone at MHR for 2023 and beyond.”
Just 17 years old, Jake Garcia ran a few races last year in the Truck Series and will not be eligible to run on the larger tracks – over 1.25 miles – until he turns 18 on March 3. Looking to run in the Rookie of the Year competition for 2023, Garcia spoke on his first full year in the Truck Series saying, “to have the chance to race full time at this level is very special to me and my family. Having the support of Adaptive One, Chevrolet, and everyone at MHR is extremely exciting. This is a huge opportunity for me, and I wish we could start the season tomorrow. Coming from super late models to the Craftsman Truck Series, there’s a lot of details and situations I need to experience, and hopefully we can learn each week and consistently improve throughout the year. There’s a ton of sharp people and valuable resources at MHR and Chevrolet to learn from, and I’m excited to take advantage of those and be a teammate with Christian.”
Another part time driver in the 2022 season has signed on for a full time run in the Truck Series for 2023 when Rajah Caruth joins GMS Racing to drive the number 24 Chevrolet. NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Wendell Scott’s foundation – the Wendell Scott Foundation – will be Caruth’s primary partner for the 2023 season.
The Wendell Scott Foundation provides resources to underprivileged youth of colour in Danville, Virginia – Scott’s home town.
Caruth will be joining GMS drivers Daniel Dye and Grant Enfinger.
GMS Racing president Mike Beam spoke on the addition of Caruth saying, “we are truly excited to welcome Rajah to our team next year. I’ve studied up on him ever since I saw him racing in ARCA, but I know that he’s been on the radar for many people in the industry for quite some time now. It was fun to watch him and Daniel (Dye) fight for the championship last year, and I think having both of them make the jump up to the Truck Series will be a benefit because they will both be able to learn together.”
He added, “Rajah’s a sharp kid. I’ve seen his work ethic and attention to detail he brings to the race track, and I can tell that he’s hungry. He just started driving a few years ago, so to see how far he’s been able to grow in such a short amount of time has been pretty remarkable. He’s built himself a good name in the garage area and is someone that people like to be around, so he’ll be able to soak up some mentorship lessons from experienced drivers, which should go a long way. I’m excited for him.”