Racin’ Today » Friesen takes on the truck race at TMS

Stewart Friesen takes the checkered flag ahead of Christian Eckes to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH, TX_ Owner-driver Stewart Friesen needed two extra laps on Friday night to finally _ finally! _ get rid of Christian Eckes and take his first victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway.

Friesen completed the pass that won the 24and SpeedyCash.com annual 220 coming out of turn 2 of the TMS high bank/1.5 mile oval on lap 149 of an event originally scheduled for 147. After clearing Eckes, Friesen rolled his #52 Toyota Tundra TRD-Pro to his third career series victory by a margin of 0.122 seconds.

Friesen’s first win since 2019 snapped a streak of 53 races without a win. His most recent series victory came at Phoenix Raceway with GMS Racing in November 2019.

Ryan Preece finished third in his #17 Ford F-150 after giving Friesen a big boost on the final restart of the night on lap 148. Eckes had the lead in his #98 Toyota at the time , but Friesen was able to stay alongside heading for the white flag lap.

Eckes and Friesen lined up front row for the two-round overtime shootout after defending series champion and points leader Ben Rhodes spun his #99 Toyota after contacting the #1 Ford F-150. 15 from Tanner Gray to bring out the final caveat on Tower 143.

“When No. 17 (Preece) lined up with me, I was like, ‘OK, I’ve got a real runner in my back pocket,’ and he pushed me over the edge,” Friesen said. “I suck at restarts and it was probably the best with old tyres. I just didn’t spin the tires and did a jump, then threw a slider in (turns) 1 and 2 and it stuck.

Preece looked like he had the truck to beat after winning the first two 35-lap stages.

“I made all the mistakes I had to in the first two segments,” Friesen said. “At first I didn’t get into it (PJ1 traction compound) fast enough and Preece got around me. That was mistake #1. Then mistake #2 was when we came in with the cars turning and Preece passed me again. Then I was like, ‘This thing is good. Needs to be a little tighter and change the balance a bit. (team leader) Jonathan Leonard just got him where he needed to be and he was definitely there at the end.

“We had an awesome truck _ thank you so much to Chris Larson and everyone at Halmar International. The whole band, there’s a huge office there that picks us up every week. So excited to party with them.

“Thanks to everyone at Toyota and TRD (Toyota Racing Development). This TRD PRO was a badass. Thanks to Slugger (Labbe, TRD) and all the guys who worked with us side by side to build this team we’re proud of that. Proud to have this tundra built in (San Antonio) Texas in Victory Lane here.

Despite Preece’s early presence at the point _ he paced the field three times for 27 laps _ Friesen led seven times for a record 60 laps, 20 more than Eckes.

Carson Hocevar finished fourth in the #42 Sparco Chevrolet Silverado, while Ty Majeski rounded out the top five in his #66 Toyota.

Friesen said he hopes it will be the “decisive win” for an organization he built from the ground up.

“You have no idea the work that’s been done on this race team over the last three years with Trip Bruce, Jonathan Leonard and all of our guys,” said Friesen, a 38-year-old from Niagara-on -the Lake, Canada. “It’s been three tough years trying to build that. It was tough. We had good trucks but we weren’t able to do a good race. Hopefully many long hours pay off.

“It’s good to have one during this time and something we can build on. We’re in the playoffs _ how about that!”

Friesen and his team join four drivers who have locked themselves into the Playoffs by virtue of their wins this season _ Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith (three wins: Daytona, Circuit of The Americas, Kansas); Chandler Smith of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Las Vegas); Rhodes of ThorSport Racng (Bristol) and John Hunter Nemechek of KBM (Darlington).

Nemechek, meanwhile, rallied for a sixth-place finish after qualifying on pole on Friday afternoon at 182.359 mph. But his No. 4 Toyota was forced to start at the back of the 36-truck field for an unapproved change. Specifically, a crew member was spotted stepping on the front splitter of the truck after qualifying _ an act interpreted by NASCAR garage police as an attempt to create more downforce in the front .

Undaunted, Nemechek ended up leading 14 laps, largely thanks to pit strategy orchestrated by team manager Eric Phillips.

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Two-time Cup Series event winner this season, William Byron says the NASCAR All-Star Race requires the driver and crew chief to concoct a game plan on the fly. Byron, of Hendrick Motorsports, is one of 20 drivers with a guaranteed starting spot in all four 125-lap segments on Sunday night at TMS.

“Yeah, that’s definitely a little weirder prep for the week,” said Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 overseen by crew chief Ryan Fugle. “That’s probably the least I know about this race of any race each week. I feel like you pick up a pace when you go to certain racetracks. You know how the stages will unfold. You know how long the race is and you kind of plan it all out in your head of what’s important. And then you’re also a bit worried about getting a good finish.

“I think in this race you’re not as worried about getting a solid finish. You’re a little worried about winning it. The winner of the 38 of the raceand publishing will collect a salary of $1 million.

“It definitely brings a different preparation going into the week, just thinking about what it will take to win, instead of what it will take to put myself in a position to win,” Byron said. “You really only think about the qualifying format; you’re thinking about how I can maximize that to get on the pole.

The tiered qualifying process was scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday.

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Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway is about to suffer more than a little renovation. The 1/5 mile asphalt oval is slated for a major facelift to help realize NASCAR Cup Series driver Christopher Bell’s vision of bringing Micro Sprint racing to the facility that Norman native, Ok so. has long been considered his original track.

Converting the track surface from asphalt to dirt and adding a number of improvements will highlight the project for the modest site which sits adjacent to the Texas Motor Speedway Dirt Track on the 1,500 acre property.

“From the first time I saw Lil’ Texas, I kept thinking how cool it would be to have a Micro Sprint race there,” said Bell, driver of Toyota Camry No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Cup Series. and a Sprint Car racing champion. “I’m super excited to see this happen and I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

Bell, 27, won’t have to wait long to participate, with a four-day Micro Sprint event scheduled in conjunction with TMS’s NASCAR Playoff doubleheader scheduled for September 23-25.

Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway will host the first-ever ‘C. Bell’s MICRO MANIA event September 21-24, with practice Wednesdays (Sept. 21), qualifying races Thursday and Friday (Sept. 22-23) and main and final races on Saturday (September 24).

Micro Sprints are smaller versions of full-size Sprint Cars with side-mounted 600cc “crotch rocket” motorcycle engines that can generate 140 horsepower with similar chassis and body styles to the larger versions.

“We’ve always had a great relationship with Christopher, and he brought us this intriguing concept for Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway,” said Kenton Nelson, TMS vice president of operations and events. “His extensive knowledge of the sport will be extremely beneficial to us in renovating the track as well as connecting with the Micro Sprint car community.

“In addition to Micro Sprint racing, Christopher also explained that with all the drivers with kids starting their racing careers, Lil’ Texas Motor Speedway could also be a great on-site opportunity to compete when their dads come to town. city ​​to run.”

The renovation project is expected to begin after this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race at TMS, with the initial undertaking being asphalt removal. Among the additions or upgrades will be a scoreboard, sound system, front stretch wall/catch fence, warning lighting system as well as a Lil’ Hoss screen, amenities in the pit area and a temporary 3,500-seat grandstand.

(Editor’s note: John Sturbin is a Texan journalist specializing in motorsports. During a nearly 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for Best Motorsport Story of the Year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association Media Award (1997) and several internal Star-Telegram honors. He was also the first recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). Its list of independent clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (NY) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service and Ford Racing).

John Sturbin | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, May 21, 2022

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