Stewart Friesen earns first victory since 2019 at Texas
Michael Manny recaps Stewart Friesen's win in the SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway, Friesen's first Camping World Truck Series win since 2019.
Stewart Friesen led a race-high 60 laps and outlasted Christian Eckes in overtime, earning his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory since 2019 in the SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Ryan Preece won the first two stages but was not able to hold on for the win.
The victory is the third of Friesen’s career and his first since the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway in November 2019. The win vaults the Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario native into the playoffs.
“I made all the mistakes I needed to make in the first two segments,” Friesen said to Fox Sports’ Jamie Little. “We had an awesome truck, thanks so much to Chris Larsen, everyone at Halmar International, the whole group, there’s a huge office there that pulls for us every week and finally we got something to celebrate.”
With the win, Halmar Friesen Racing became the first team not named Kyle Busch Motorsports or GMS Racing to win at Texas since ThorSport in June 2015.
Friesen started the race in third, and quickly found his way to the front on lap two, leading the next 12 laps. However, it was Preece that took control of the race in the early going, taking the lead for two, 18 and seven-lap stretches in the first 37 laps.
Driving the No. 17 truck for David Gilliland Racing, Preece finished third. It was his fourth start of the season for Team DGR, with his first three races earning him a top-five and three top-10 finishes.
“We just need to clean up a few things,” Preece said to Fox Sports’ Josh Sims. “When you get in control of the race you just can’t give it up, especially here, it was really top lane dominant there, basically in the middle part of the race to the end.”
John Hunter Nemechek won last year’s race at Texas, and his day could not have started any better. He earned the pole for the third week in a row. But just before the race, it was announced that Nemechek would have to start from the rear due to an unapproved adjustment.
Despite this, Nemechek made his way back to the front and finished sixth.
Unlike last week at Kansas, which was caution-free for much of the race, it didn’t take long for the race’s first yellow flag. Reaume Brothers Racing’s Chris Hacker spun in turn two, but was able to avoid the wall. Hacker had already sustained damage earlier when he hit the wall in practice.
Friesen briefly took the lead back from Preece on lap 16, but Preece took it back four later, winning the first stage.
Coming into Texas, Zane Smith was considered a threat to win his fourth race of the year, coming off a dominant performance at Kansas. But the tough luck began for Smith after the first stage and didn’t end there. Smith was given an equipment interference penalty on pit road and had to restart from the rear.
Friesen would take the lead again off the restart and hold it for 28 laps, his longest stretch of the race. The second stage remained caution-free, with Preece grabbing the top spot back on lap 66 and sweeping the stages.
Preece encountered some poor fortune soon after, receiving left-rear damage. Preece initially stayed on the track before going down pit road to avoid the black flag.
In the third stage, Ty Majeski, the highest driver in the standings without a win, got loose and made contact with the No. 19 of Derek Kraus, who hit the wall. This drew the race’s second caution for cause, and ended Kraus’ night.
Christian Eckes, who led the second-most laps in the race (40), took his first lead on the 93rd lap. The ThorSport driver was looking for his first win of the year.
Eckes, Friesen, Carson Hocevar, Ross Chastain and Nemechek would battle in the top five for the rest of the race, with Friesen leading between laps 99 and 107. Eckes’ longest stretch of laps led came between the 114th and 132nd time around.
Nemechek remained in the mix but decided to pit while under the green flag late in the race.
Eckes again had the lead late in the race, but a caution caused the race to have to go into overtime. Tanner Gray made contact with defending champion Ben Rhodes on the backstretch, sending Rhodes spinning into the wall.
With the sixth-place finish, Nemechek moved past Rhodes into first in the regular season standings. Rhodes finished 27th.
Eckes started overtime on the outside, with Friesen on the inside. Friesen pulled away on the final lap to take the win.
“Just didn’t have lane position, it is what it is,” Eckes said to Sims.
The series shifts next to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. The race will begin Friday, May 27 at 8:30 ET, with coverage on Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
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