From Holly Cain / NASCAR Wire Service
It was a hard-earned, deeply-appreciated victory for Stewart Friesen in Friday night’s SpeedyCash.com 220 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway – the first win for the popular Canadian driver since November 2019.
His 60 laps out front in the No. 52 Halmar Friesen Racing Toyota more than doubled his year-long total laps led and were enough to land his first win in the last 53 races and to secure his place in the 2022 Playoffs.
Friesen, 38, lined up alongside Toyota driver Christian Eckes for a final overtime re-start and after a close side-by-side battle through the opening two turns, Friesen pulled his Toyota Tundra ahead to clear Eckes exiting onto the backstretch. He was able to hold off Eckes to take a close 0.122-second win on the famed 1.5-mile Texas high banks.
“I made all the mistakes I needed to make in the first two segments,” said Friesen, who had only one other top-five finish this season, a third place at Las Vegas in March. “We had an awesome truck.”
“You have no idea the work that has gone into this race team over the past three years to build this up,” he continued. “It’s an awesome group. And we’re in the Playoffs.
“Whoa,” he yelled with a smile.
As his result indicates, the runner-up Eckes had a strong night, leading a season-high 40 laps – second only to Friesen’s work.
“Just didn’t have lane position,” Eckes said. “It is what it is.
“It’s been a rough kind of stretch here for a little bit,” he said. “I’m glad to show we can actually be here and win races. We’re more hungry than ever.”
Ryan Preece, who won both Stage 1 and Stage 2, finished third in the No. 17 Team DGR Ford – making quite a remarkable comeback considering his truck suffered damage earlier in the race and had to pit for repairs. The hard work gives Preece four top-10 finishes in as many Truck starts this year and the third-place work is his best of the season.
Carson Hocevar, driver of the No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, finished fourth with ThorSport Racing’s Ty Majeski rounding out the top-five in a race that had 34 green flag passes for the lead and 18 lead changes among seven drivers.
John Hunter Nemechek, who won the pole position but had to start at the rear after a penalty for an unapproved adjustment, finished sixth – twice having to drive up through the field. Although he didn’t match his qualifying work with a victory Friday night, his sixth-place showing was good enough to take the Camping World Truck Series driver standings lead for the first time this season. Nemechek is the fourth different Truck Series points leader this season.
Ben Rhodes, who had led the points for a four-race stretch, finished 27th after his No. 99 ThorSport Racing Toyota was involved in an accident bringing out the final caution period forcing the overtime.
Corey Heim, Chandler Smith, Matt Crafton and former NASCAR Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto rounded out the top-10 – the second consecutive and fourth top-10 finish of the season for DiBenedetto.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ next race, the North Carolina Education Lottery 200, is Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway (8:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Nemechek is the defending race winner.
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