McAnally Hilgemann Racing (MHR) announced today that the organization will field two entries in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2023 with Christian Eckes and Jake Garcia piloting Chevrolet Silverado RST‘s. Eckes, who joins MHR to drive the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST, has two full-time seasons under his belt in the Craftsman Truck Series and qualified for the playoffs in both campaigns. Garcia, a native of Monroe, Georgia, is stepping up to compete full-time for Rookie of the Year honors in the No. 35 Adaptive One Chevrolet Silverado RST.
MHR and NAPA will celebrate their 33rd season together with a multi-year extension that begins in 2023. It‘s a partnership that originated before team owner Bill McAnally established his racing career. He became a loyal NAPA customer while attending Ukiah High School in California. The local NAPA store offered a pay-as-you-go option for students purchasing a tool set piece by piece. That sparked a relationship when McAnally started racing at All-American Speedway and has continued to blossom over 32 years.
Now in the 33rd season with MHR, the NAPA Auto Care brand will adorn Eckes‘ No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado RST in 2023, as the team is proud to represent over 17,000 NAPA Auto Care locations nationwide and various NAPA Auto Parts suppliers. The longstanding relationship with NAPA has helped forge additional partnerships like Adaptive One for multiple events on Garcia‘s No. 35 Chevrolet Silverado RST.
“I‘m ecstatic to get the season started,” McAnally said. “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.”
Eckes takes the reins of the No. 19 NAPA Auto Care Chevrolet Silverado RST after finishing eighth in the championship standings in 2022 and brings impactful playoff experience to MHR.
“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,” Eckes said. “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.”
Garcia, 17, is a former track champion at Five Flags Speedway and became the youngest Southern Super Series champion in the tour‘s history. The Georgia native made five Craftsman Truck Series starts in 2022 and is focused on competing for the Rookie of the Year in 2023.
“To have the chance to race full-time at this level is very special to me and my family,” Garcia said. “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.”
Garcia will make his first start of 2023 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 3rd, the day of his 18th birthday. Due to NASCAR‘s age restriction at tracks larger than 1.25 miles, Garcia is ineligible to compete in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway (DIS). MHR will announce a driver for the No. 35 entry for DIS and crew chiefs for both teams at a later date.