O Opinions & Commentary

Can Friesen win in the Truck Series? Yes!

Can Friesen win in the Truck Series? Yes!

Nov 14/19 (GRW): Earlier this year I wrote a commentary saying that I doubted that the Canadian driver Stewart Friesen would ever win a truck series race, citing various problems I thought stood in his way – including uneven pit stop work and other all-too-frequent mistakes. Well, I am happy to point out that I was wrong. Going into the season finale at Homestead, Friesen has won twice already this season – and I see no reason not to have high hopes that he can win again. And a win this week would give him the series championship.

What has made me change my mind?

First he won the dirt race at Eldora. Now that one is an anomaly because it is the only dirt race in the series and Friesen is an accomplished dirt racer, having many wins in his big-block modified cars in upstate New York. So a win here at Eldora could just be a one-off.

More significant was his win last week at Phoenix.

Friesen started from the front row alongside Austin Hill, the polesitter (a good sign) but he was penalized for a jumped start when Hill fumbled the start and Friesen crossed the line in the lead. Despite receiving a penalty for this, he had done nothing wrong. His crew chief argued the penalty to no avail and Friesen had to drop to the back of the field. Fortunately for him, a caution had come out already and he was able to stay on the lead lap.

After that, he put his head down and started to march back up towards the front. At the end of the first Stage, he was up to ninth place. He was in fourth at the end of the second Stage and he took the lead on lap 107 of the 150-lap race and he led all the rest of the way to the finish.

In the closing laps, Brandon Jones (a non-playoff driver) closed up on him but Friesen was able to hang onto the lead and he took the checker by a margin of 0.9 seconds over Jones.

This was the performance of an accomplished driver who has mastered this paved-track type of racing. Clearly any doubts I had about his ability to close the deal are not justified.

Going into the championship finale this weekend, he has to beat the other three finalists – Ross Chastain, Brett Moffitt and Matt Crafton. It won’t be easy – Moffitt and Crafton are both former champions and Chastain has been very competitive all season long (he has three official wins and another he lost on a technicality) – but Friesen had now demonstrated that he can compete for a race win here as well as any of the other three. The championship system may be designed to be a bit of a lottery but my money is on Friesen to hit the jackpot this week at Homestead.



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