Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – FORT WORTH, TX – Ever so close. That is the statement Stewart Friesen has used four times in his NASCAR Truck Series career heading into Friday night’s event at Texas Motor Speedway. That’s because he’s finished second in those four events.
Friday night, he made it number five, but this one may be the one that hurts the most. He had victory in his fingertips only to be beaten by the winningest driver in Series history Kyle Busch. Only one problem, Friesen had a better truck than Busch.
“We just got way too tight late in the race,” Friesen said. “Trip (Bruce, his crew chief) and the guys did a great job trying to free me up all race long, but just fought dirty air.”
Lucky for Friesen, the race track took rubber with the traction compound that was laid down for this weekend. A second groove came in which produced some great two-wide racing, but the bottom lane still was the place to be.
“The outside came in a little bit,” he said. “If someone was bad enough, you could roll them but that was it.”
Even though second is a great finish for Friesen, who held on to the series point lead, you can tell he was disappointed with his result.
“I thought I had him (Busch),” he said. “Once we were close and he took the air off my spoiler and got me loose. That’s how you race these things. I did it to about a half-dozen guys and a half-dozen did it to me. It was just tough to clear him and we were racing the best in the business.”
While he wasn’t happy, Friesen knows his team gave him everything they could to be in the best position for the victory.
“I’m very proud of our race team,” he said. “It was a good points night and now I’m looking forward to the month of April and racing the Modified.”
The next race for Stewart on the Truck Series will be May 3rd at Dover. That event will hold a special place for the Sprakers, NY driver and his family.
“Look for us at Dover as we’re going to be doing a special paint scheme for Autism Awareness,” he said. “We’re going to be auctioning off some puzzle pieces so people can get involved to raise some money and support the cause.”
This is a cause very dear to the Friesen family.
“Our son, Parker, who has Spectrum for Autism and millions of other kids out there who need help…not only them, but the schools that they go to need help so that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to try and raise some money and have fun at Dover.”
For winner Kyle Busch, he knew he didn’t have the best truck late in the race. Brett Moffitt’s GMS Racing machine and Stewart’s #52 were better, but had to do everything he could to hold them off.
“The 24 (Moffitt) was who I was really worried about and something happened to him,” Busch said. “Then the 52 was really fast and on our tailgate the whole finish of the race. I don’t know if he got heated up or what back there, but Stewart put up a good fight and got to me a couple of times. Fortunately I was able to hold out and keep this Tundra out front. We just didn’t have what we wanted tonight. We lacked overall speed.”
Now Friesen gets ready to hit the dirt for the entire month of April…back to where it all started. Stay tuned to RPW for all the results and happenings from events the “Canadian Sensation” enters.