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Stewart Friesen Breaks Through For First Eldora Victory

Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway
Friday, August 2, 2019

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Stewart Friesen wins at Eldora
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

First at last.

Canadian Stewart Friesen held off Sheldon Creed by .728-seconds in the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway to earn his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory Thursday night.

It was a typical Eldora night of close racing, hot tempers, and high drama on the Rossburg, Ohio half-miler. Friesen, the driver of the No. 52 Halmar Friesen Racing Chevrolet took the lead on Lap 95 of the 150-lap race and held off the field despite multiple caution periods and restarts – before prevailing in a two-lap shootout to the checkered flag.

Championship points leader Grant Enfinger finished third, followed by Mike Marlar and Todd Gilliland. Defending Eldora winner Chase Briscoe, who led a race best 94 laps, finished seventh. Briscoe and Friesen were the only two race leaders.

"Oh man, thank you to all the race fans that stuck with us," Friesen said in Victory Lane. "Today, this is the day. This is the week. Thanks to everybody. This is meant to be. We needed to get it done on the dirt. Thanks to everyone. What a special event.”

The race certainly had its share of excitement.

Briscoe, last week’s NASCAR Xfinity Series winner at Iowa, won both the first and second stages and was caught up in multiple incidents on the night. However, he managed to keep his truck racing to take a hard-earned top-10 finish.

For many of the usual frontrunners, the unique Eldora challenge presented new obstacles. It was the dirt debut for several fulltime drivers, including three-race winner Ross Chastain, who ran impressively among the top five early in the race, spun out on his own after the Stage 2 restart but rallied to a 12th-place finish.

Sunoco Rookie Harrison Burton, who was making his Eldora debut, dealt with over-heating during the brief break following the opening stage. He was running eighth when he spun and brought out the fourth caution flag of the night and then was collected in another multi-truck accident. He eventually had to retire his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota and suffer a 31st-place finish in the 32-truck field.

As for Friesen, who had been a symbol of "coming so close” to victory, this was finally his career highlight night. He has six runner-up finishes in the last three seasons – including two earlier this year. A last place finish last weekend at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway had really put him in championship peril – dropping him to last among the current eight eligible drivers. Instead, with Thursday’s win, he has an automatic berth to contend for the title.

The series moves to Michigan International Speedway for the regular season finale next Saturday.

RACE RESULTS

Pos St # Driver Sponsor/Make Laps Led Status
1 4 52 Stewart Friesen Halmar International Chevrolet 150 57 Running
2 10 2 Sheldon Creed # Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet 150 0 Running
3 15 98 Grant Enfinger Champion Power Equipment Ford 150 0 Running
4 23 33 Mike Marlar Smithbilt Homes Toyota 150 0 Running
5 8 4 Todd Gilliland JBL/SiriusXM Toyota 150 0 Running
6 17 51 Christian Eckes Mobil 1 Toyota 150 0 Running
7 1 27 Chase Briscoe(i) DiaEdge Ford 150 93 Running
8 7 2 Tyler Dippel # Jersey Filmmaker Chevrolet 150 0 Running
9 26 17 Tyler Ankrum # DGR-Crosley Driver Development Toyota 150 0 Running
10 2 88 Matt Crafton IdealDoor/Menards Ford 150 0 Running
11 14 80 Justin Shipley Rogers Ford 150 0 Running
12 12 45 Ross Chastain Niece/Jack Hewitt Tribute Chevrolet 150 0 Running
13 32 22 Austin Wayne Self GO TEXAN/AM Technical Solutions Chevrolet 150 0 Running
14 9 99 Ben Rhodes Havoline Ford 150 0 Running
15 24 38 Mark Smith Selinsgrove Speedway/Mach 1 Chassis 150 0 Running
16 25 8 Tim Ward Country AF Radio Toyota 150 0 Running
17 30 74 Darwin Peters Jr. JR Peters Roadside Auto Chevrolet 150 0 Running
18 5 54 Kyle Strickler DGR-Crosley Driver Development Toyota 149 0 Running
19 29 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Driven2Honor.org Chevrolet 149 0 Running
20 21 44 Jeffrey Abbey Niece Equipment Chevrolet 147 0 Running
21 6 13 Johnny Sauter Tenda Heal Ford 145 0 Running
22 27 6 Norm Benning H&H Transport/KMO Racing Chevrolet 145 0 Running
23 28 34 Mason Massey IV The Challenge Book Chevrolet 144 0 Running
24 22 20 Landon Huffman K&L Ready Mix Chevrolet 144 0 Running
25 13 3 Carson Hocevar Scott's/GMParts Now Chevrolet 143 0 Running
26 18 3 Jake Griffin ClayneCrawfordFoundation.org Chevrolet 143 0 Running
27 16 8 Colt Gilliam Business Machines Co/Hoopaugh Grading Chev 143 0 Running
28 20 12 Gus Dean # OverkillRV.com Chevrolet 142 0 Running
29 3 24 Brett Moffitt Arlon Graphics Chevrolet 141 0 Running
30 31 32 Devin Dodson Reaume Brothers Racing Chevrolet 141 0 Running
31 11 18 Harrison Burton # Safelite AutoGlass Toyota 127 0 Running
32 19 16 Austin Hill United Rentals Toyota 79 0 Accident

 

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