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(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Stewart Friesen Earns First Career Victory with 2019 Eldora Dirt Derby Win

Frontstretch’s Truck Series content is presented by American Trucks

After six career second-place finishes, Stewart Friesen got the proverbial monkey off his back at Eldora Speedway, winning the 2019 Eldora Dirt Derby.

It is his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win.

The win comes one race after Friesen wrecked on the first lap at Pocono Raceway en route to a last-place finish.

After 62 career starts, Friesen delivered the first win for his Halmar Friesen Racing team.

“These guys have been down and out, down and out,” Friesen said. “They keep busting their butts for me and working on stuff and fixing stuff by putting in so much long hours. I can’t thank everyone enough.”

In order to get up front ahead of Chase Briscoe, who won the first two stages, Friesen gambled at the end of the second stage. He overrode crew chief Trip Bruce and decided not to pit.

“Getting clean restarts I knew was going to be tough,” he said. “We never could get a long run going. Trip left it up to me and I always want to be upfront. We held ’em off and we won.”

Indeed, the Eldora Dirt Derby was plagued by cautions, and caution laps accounted for 68 of the 150 laps. The main reason NASCAR made each caution flag period lengthy was to sort out the restart. Including the first two stage periods as caution flags, there were 12 cautions in the race.

Although several of the cautions were due to spins, many drivers ended up with torn up trucks.

Ross Chastain has been in highlights for his ability to save his truck from wrecks in some races. Yet on lap 95, he looped his No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet around several times, bringing out a caution.

Briscoe pitted at the end of the second stage and therefore he lost some track position. As he raced his way toward the front, he received some damage to his No. 27 ThorSport Racing Ford from the lap 105 caution flag incident. At that time, the incident seemed to wipe away any shot he had of catching Friesen.

But Briscoe’s odds improved. He steadily gained spots, and his deficit to Friesen was eliminated thanks to a lap 134 spin by Devin Dodson. However, the intensity level throughout the field ramped up, and Briscoe was not in clean air.

On lap 142, Briscoe got sideways and made contact with Ben Rhodes. Briscoe spun and brought Kyle Strickler along with him. At the same time, Jennifer Jo Cobb made contact with Mark Smith and hit the wall. The caution flag was actually for Cobb’s incident on the other side of the track.

However, Briscoe’s chance to win back-to-back Eldora Dirt Derby races and become the first driver to win multiple Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway was not over with. He restarted on lap 148 on the inside of the second row.

When the green flag flew with two laps to go, he mounted a valiant effort, but the high line proved far too important for passing, and Briscoe finished seventh. He won the first two stages and overall led 93 laps.

Finishing second in the Eldora Dirt Derby was Sheldon Creed. He credited his runner-up finish to restarting on the outside lane on the last restart. Creed bounced back after he spun his No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet, gathered it back up, and NASCAR didn’t throw the caution flag.

Rounding out the top five finishers were Grant Enfinger, Mike Marlar and Todd Gilliland.

2019 Eldora Dirt Derby Race Results

 

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About Mark Kristl

Mark Kristl
Mark joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is an Eagle Scout & a proud University of Dayton alum. He also writes about NASCAR for Beyond the Flag.

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4 comments

  1. Avatar

    Didn’t Tony have his left hand bandaged from his fight ? I thought Mark made contact with Jennifer.

  2. Avatar

    Was Tony in Victory Lane with Jessica?

  3. Avatar

    Maybe now the Fox folks will finally cease talking to and about Gilliland and Burton. Hey Mikey, it’s over, neither is going to make the chase now. So stop plugging them. Before the race the pit reporter passed twenty cars to interview Gilliland, why !! The kid has won nothing, done nothing, so why him Fox.