Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS / RPW – MARTINSVILLE, VA – Kyle Busch added another win to his already impressive number of victories in NASCAR’s top three series on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. Few drivers had any chance of out dueling Busch, however Polesitter Stewart Friesen looked strong early. As is expected at the .5 mile flat paperclip shaped oval, things got physical on track early and often.
Friesen led the field to the green flag and led the first handful of circuits. This would be the only time the No. 52 had superiority on the field. By mid-way through the first stage, Kyle Busch had already caught and passed Friesen for the top spot. Busch went on to win the first stage as Friesen fell down the running order due to an ill handling truck.
Friesen admittedly wasn’t sure what it would take to beat the younger Busch brother. When asked where Busch was beating him, Friesen replied over the radio, “Oh probably all over the race track.”
Busch dominated the majority of the remaining laps, only losing the lead during stage breaks for attention from his pit crew. The 201st win of his career was the only bright spot on the day for the Las Vegas native, as his KBM drivers all finished outside the top ten.
“These guys worked really really hard this weekend. We unloaded and I didn’t like where we were at. Ky. Busch said. “We made wholesale changes to this thing all weekend long and just tried to keep improving this Cessna Beechcraft Tundra.”
Friesen managed to climb back to the top five by race’s end, however what started off as a promising day for the former full-time Big Block Modified star ended with a solid finish but not the win he and his throngs of fans across the northeast and Canada have been waiting for.
“It was tough. Friesen said. “It was a handful there for a lot of it. We raced against a lot of fast trucks. Tripp (Bruce) and the guys did a good job of tightening me up. I finally got smart enough to split my rear fans there at the end and pull some stagger out so that helped. We salvaged the day. Tripp loves racing for points, I hate racing for points so we had to dig out of a little hole there but we made some points and came out of it with a top five.”
The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series makes its next stop on the 2019 schedule at Texas Motor Speedway for Friday’s running of the Longhorn 200.