After final practice for Thursday’s UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stewart Friesen was one of the favorites to win the race, topping the scoring chart. He came up just short of his first first-career Camping World Truck Series win, finishing second.
Friesen began the race from 13th, one of his worst starts of the season. But once the green flag waved, the No. 52 truck began going through the field, finishing seventh in stage one. In stage two, Friesen drove further up the scoring pylon, earning seven stage points by finishing fourth.
As John Hunter Nemechek and Johnny Sauter weaved through lapped traffic in the closing laps, Friesen began to inch his way to the front two. With less than 20 laps to go, he was on the back bumper of the front two, side-by-side with the No. 21 truck for second position.
with five laps to go, the No. 8 truck slowed from the lead, allowing Sauter and Friesen to go by. Friesen was able to close within two-tenths of the No. 21, crossing the finish line in second, his third runner-up finish of the campaign.
“Shit, it’s not even frustrating. Every day I pinch myself to be at these places and I’m having a ball, Friesen said after the race. “Wins will come, but battling for wins is all you can ask for, and that’s what we’re doing as a race team.”
Through the 16 regular season races, Friesen has seven top-five finishes, with four additional top 10s. The No. 52 truck has been out front for 159 circuits, the fifth most of series regulars.
So the question is when will the win come?
“Yeah, it goes through my mind, I’d be lying if I didn’t,” he said of thinking about that first win. “But then I go drink a 12 pack and kind of forget about it. I’ll have a couple of Bud Lights tonight and that’s it. We’ll put this behind us and go battle at the road course next week.”
The series heads to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next weekend (Aug. 26), as it will be Friesen’s first trip to a road course. He goes into the playoffs with a career-high five consecutive top 10s.
“Thanks to every modified owner that’s ever given me a chance and open these doors to get to this level,” he said. “I appreciate them all. We’ll keep digging here, we’re going in with style.”