Stewart Friesen made 62 starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His best finish in those 62 starts was second – six times as a matter of fact.
It was a record in the series, considering Friesen had led 437 laps in his career going into the Eldora Dirt Derby.
However, on Thursday night, Friesen broke his string of bad luck nearing the end of races, holding off the ThorSport Racing trucks in route to his first career win in the truck series.
Stewart Friesen earns first win at Eldora Dirt Derby
That was fitting for the former full-time late model driver.
Though, he wasn’t the fastest car throughout the race. That belonged to the No. 27 of Chase Briscoe.
Briscoe led all of the first and second stages and only pitted because he needed to re-fuel his No. 27 machine, the fastest car in the field all night.
However, when Briscoe came off pit road, he lost a boat load of track position.
All of the sudden, Briscoe had to scratch and claw to get up to the leaders after he was leading for the entirety of the first half of the evening.
He made a big charge, and perhaps had a car that could win the race, but ultimately Briscoe got loose next to Sheldon Creed and eventually spun out after Ben Rhodes tapped his left rear quarter panel.
After Briscoe surrendered the lead, it was Friesen’s race to lose, and he wasn’t giving up this opportunity.
Friesen led the rest of the caution filled Dirt Derby, dominating the third stage to win his first truck series race of his career.
Playoff Grid With 1 To Go
With one race remaining before the playoffs, the grid for who will make it in has gotten tight.
Friesen’s win and Grant Enfinger’s third-place finish clinched the No. 98 team into the playoffs no matter what happens in the final race of the year.
However, the unique-ness of this situation remains unparalleled in anything we’ve seen in the playoff era in NASCAR.
Not a single driver can earn their way into the playoffs by way of points in the final race of the year.
The only thing the drivers can do to make the playoffs now is win the final race of the regular season is win at Michigan.
So, if a full-time, truck series contender wins at Michigan next Saturday, it will pinch the two-time series champion Matt Crafton out of the 2019 playoffs.
The final race of the regular season will go down on Saturday, August 10. It is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. ET and be televised by Fox Sports 1.
|NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Playoff Grid|
|Wildcard standings (no wins)||Points||Cutoff|
FRIESEN EARNS FIRST WIN