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Kickin The Tires

Friesen scores best finish of 2020 season at Pocono

Photo by NKP / NKP Photo

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

The up and down season for Stewart Friesen shifted towards the upside with a top-10 finish at Pocono Raceway.

The driver of the No. 52 Halmar “Racing To Beat Hunger” Toyota Silverado started deep in the field. Friesen narrowly avoided a repeat of last year’s Pocono Organics 150, missing the turn one, lap one accident. The Halmar-Friesen Racing driver broke into the top-10 at the end of the second stage.

The caution-filled race helped and hurt Friesen on restarts. Some restarts, the Toyota Racing Development driver moved forward. Others, when Friesen restarted on the inside, he slipped backward.

On the final restart, the No. 52 lined up fifth, on the inside. In the two-lap scramble to the checkered flag, Friesen struggled to hold onto the top-five. At the white flag, he slipped to sixth. On the final lap, Ross Chastain and Brett Moffitt snuck by, dropping Friesen to eighth.

“It was good. When we got clear of the 99 (Ben Rhodes) and got to fifth with five to go, I’m like it needs to go green to the end,” explained Friesen. “Restarting at the bottom was not the advantage today, and sure enough we get a caution there. It was good. We are building. We had a balanced Tundra today. Thanks to Halmar.”

The Canadian had planned to compete in three races in 24 hours. The weather in Long Pond, PA decided otherwise, forcing NASCAR to delay the Pocono Truck race to Sunday. The challenge Friesen took on was for charity and results in $5,000 in donations to local food banks.

“It was cool to do the Race to Beat Hunger,” stated Friesen. “Three races in what turned out to be 36 hours – have a third, fourth and a eighth. It’s pretty cool. Another top 10; five grand towards local food banks here. Just a good deal.”

Friesen has three top-10 finishes in six NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races this year. In the other three, he either was swept up in incidents or struggled for speed.

The eighth-place finish is Friesen’s best of the 2020 season to date. It is also his 40th career top-10 in Truck Series competition.

Following the top-10 finish, Friesen moved from 14th to 12th in the points standings. He is 20-points behind the playoff cutoff, held by Johnny Sauter, and 105-points behind leader Austin Hill.

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