The first win on the pavement was oh so sweeter for Stewart Friesen, locking him into the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship Four.
Friesen took the checkereds on Friday night at ISM Raceway for the Lucas Oil 150, being the only championship contender to win a race in the Round of 6. The win marked his second career Trucks victory and his first at ISM Raceway.
“That’s what we come to do; is win races,” Friesen told Sports360AZ in Gatorade Victory Lane. “We got some good momentum now, everyone is pumped up and then we’ll be able to carry that momentum through the week and into Homestead next week.”
Friesen’s day started on a high note, qualifying second but at the very beginning of the race, Friesen jumped the start and was penalized by NASCAR to tag the back of the field. Friesen fought his way back through the field to take the lead in the final segment on his way to a victory in the Truck Series semifinal.
The other drivers heading to Homestead-Miami Speedway next week for a chance to win a championship along with Friesen are defending champion, Brett Moffitt, 2-time truck champion, Matt Crafton, and ‘The Watermelon Man,” Ross Chastain.
Sitting on the Championship Four bubble, Austin Hill, scored the pole earlier on Friday running ISM Raceway’s mile in 27.021 seconds followed by Friesen. Stage One would be dominated though by Ben Rhodes, Stage Two was Sheldon Creed’s early, but was overtaken by Xfinity Series regular, Brandon Jones. Jones looked to spoil the trucks championship party by winning stage two.
In the final stage, Friesen had his truck up into the top ten and was able to race his way to the lead. In the closing laps, Brandon Jones put up a fight racing side by side for multiple laps but could never make the pass. Friesen’s win locked him into the Championship Four. In last year’s championship race at Homestead, Friesen finished fourth.
Jones would end up second, a fast Chandler Smith finished third for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Ben Rhodes and Grant Enfinger closed out the top five for Thor Sport Racing. Austin Hill entered the race above the cutline entering ISM Raceway, but his 13th place performance wasn’t enough to keep Matt Crafton behind him in the points who finished sixth.
The Gander Outdoors Truck Series will decide their champion next Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The race begins at 6:00 p.m. Arizona Time and will be available live in FS1.
The next time the trucks will make an appearance at ISM Raceway will be for next year’s championship weekend on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020.
— Devon Henry (@devonhenry77) November 9, 2019