Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – SPARTA, KY – Through the first half of the NASCAR Truck Series regular season it is apparent Stewart Friesen and his team aren’t performing at the standard many had become accustomed to during his team’s association with GMS Motorsports as an affiliate organization. That should be expected.
Certain talking heads will tell you that his season has been mediocre at best to date, however they fail to tell the depth of the story as to why.
During the 2019 offseason there was much speculation as to what would happen to Halmar Friesen Racing when GMS announced that most if not all of their truck team affiliates would be dropped for the 2020 season.
Scrambling to find resources to continue their assault on the NASCAR Truck Series, in which Friesen won two races in the 2019 season and was in the final four of the championship at Homestead, they inked a deal with Kyle Busch Motorsports and TRD for chassis and motors.
Most would say, “Well that’s the best equipment in the field, he should be contending for wins nearly every week.” Surprisingly, that’s not the case.
Though the equipment is good, the Halmar Friesen Racing team does not receive the same support and data they did from GMS with KBM and TRD. The team is learning a whole new chassis geometry, torque profile of the engine and aerodynamic profile with the Toyota Tundra body.
A huge learning curve for any team to undertake at any level of the sport.
Yet here sits Friesen and team, racking up top 15 finishes, making late race restart moves to get the sporadic top 10 and sitting in 14th place in the current point standings, just outside the cut line for the Truck Series Playoffs. Yet this season is being called mediocre by some.
Once again at Kentucky, Friesen was running solidly in the top 15 for most of the event, at one point breaking well into the top 10. The HFR team ended up 15th as the second stage ending became the race’s end due to rain.
However, when looking at the entire story of this season as a whole, it’s apparent that HFR is once again proving that it can punch well above its weight. They will learn and progress with the new Toyota and KBM equipment and they will adapt to what it needs to make speed.
Halmar Friesen Racing has adapted to a lot over their short time in the NASCAR world. From a one-off dirt race at Eldora, to five asphalt races where Friesen began his learning process on asphalt in NASCAR, to winning on both dirt and asphalt at Eldora and Phoenix respectively, to contending for a championship and now a manufacturer change with some growing pains.
Make no mistake. Halmar Friesen Racing is anything but mediocre.