Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Stewart Friesen started his 2019 NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series season off with a bang. In fact, multiple bangs as Friday night’s race turned into what Friesen called on social media, “The Enduro 250.” His tenth place finish was hard fought to the bitter end.
Friesen started the race off strong, running in or near the top 10 throughout the first 20 lap stage. His Halmar-Friesen Racing Chevrolet was running well until a crash ahead of him in turn four left him with no place to go. Suffering minor cosmetic damage on the right side front splitter and the left side door, Friesen’s truck still showed amazing speed as the race resumed.
The Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario native was able to pick up a few positions on the mandatory yellow and continued to methodically work his way up the scoring pylon as stage two rolled on. Friesen found himself racing for the win on the final lap of the second stage. Coming out of turn four Friesen took his truck to the bottom of the speedway in a drag race to the line.
Former teammate Johnny Sauter in his new ThorSport No. 13 took the stage two victory, however Friesen seemed to have a truck still capable of contending for the win. Unfortunately, for most of the field stage three would not be as kind.
As the field completed lap 100, a major incident occurred as trucks tangled on the backstretch. With no less than ten trucks involved, major contenders like Matt Crafton, Austin Hill, Ben Rhodes and Friesen were collected in the melee.
Friesen’s hopes of a win were dashed. However, he managed to nurse his wounded HFR Chevrolet home for a solid tenth place finish. With the first race of the season now complete, the former full-time Big Block Modified competitor finds himself in tenth in the points standings. A solid foundation to build a strong 2019 season on.
The series heads next to the Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 23rd for the running of the Active Pest Control 200.