Story By: MATT KLUG / SPIRE MOTORSPORTS – CONCORD, NC – Spire Motorsports announced on Tuesday that Stewart Friesen will drive the team’s No. 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Food City Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Stewart, a two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner, will be supported by long-time partner Halmar International when he takes the green flag for the highly anticipated 250-lap race on the famed high-banked, half-mile oval.
The race will mark the first time NASCAR’s premiere series has raced on dirt dating back to 1970. NASCAR and Bristol Motor Speedway announced in September the legendary Tennessee oval would be covered in dirt to create a one-of-kind racing experience for the drivers, teams and fans.
Friesen, who has over 330 career wins in dirt modified racing, won the last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced on dirt at Eldora Speedway in 2019. The Ontario, Canada native is currently sixth in the Truck Series Championship point standings following a solid fourth-place finish in the division’s most recent stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“It’s a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series,” explained Friesen. “It’s the pinnacle of motorsports in North America. As a race fan myself, it has always been something I’ve dreamed about doing. I’m really excited to work with Kevin Bellicourt as our crew chief. I’ve known him for a few years now since we worked together at GMS Racing. In addition to Kevin, the whole Spire Motorsports group has been very welcoming. There’s some stuff we can take from our dirt experience with the truck at Eldora and apply to the Cup car, to hopefully be very competitive at Bristol. Thanks to Halmar International for coming on board as a partner for this whole deal, and thanks to (Spire Motorsports co-owners) T.J. Puchyr, Jeff Dickerson and the whole group at Spire Motorsports for the opportunity.”
Spire Motorsports jump started its 2021 campaign with a pair of top-10s in the Daytona 500 where Jamie McMurray (No. 77) and Corey LaJoie (No. 7) finished eighth and ninth, respectively. Justin Haley has handled the driving duties for the No. 77 team since the second race of the year but will yield the seat to Friesen for Round 7.
“Stewart Friesen is an outstanding race car driver and his pedigree on dirt speaks for itself,” said Puchyr. “I’ve watched Stewart with great interest over the last several years. He’s won on dirt and on pavement in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, so we feel like he’s the right driver to put in the No. 77 for the Food City Dirt Race. He’s a very talented driver, puts in the work and checks all the boxes. We’re thrilled for him make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in our car and I’m confident he’ll do a good job.”
The Food City Dirt Race from Bristol Motor Speedway will be televised live on FOX Sunday, March 28 beginning at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The seventh of 36 races on the 2021 NCS schedule will be broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.