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NASCAR Trucks at Eldora Speedway • Friesen wins! On dirt!

NASCAR Trucks at Eldora Speedway
• Friesen wins! On dirt!

Rossburg, OH, Aug 1/19 (GRW): Prior to this race, the Canadian driver Stewart Friesen had made 62 starts in the truck series. He had been second six times, close to a win a few times, but he had never taken a checker. He has a long-standing record of success on the short tracks in the Northeast US – including lots of dirt track races in late-model stock cars. Of all the tracks the trucks run on, the Eldora half-mile dirt oval would seem to be his best chance for a win.

He did score a second and a third here in the previous two years – but still no truck win. This year, Friesen broke through and won the Eldora race – and the win guaranteed him a start in the post season playoffs. Finally, a win!

Friesen won his qualifier race but this was only good enough for a fourth place starting position. Chase Briscoe started from the pole and he led the first 93 laps of the 150-lap race. This race had three Stages as in now normal but here the race was red-flagged during the pit stops and then restarted to begin each Stage.

Friesen did not make a pit stop at the end of the first Stage and this moved him from sixth place up to fourth when racing resumed. During the second Stage there were three cautions which helped Friesen move up to second behind Briscoe.

When the second Stage ended at lap 90, Friesen was in second place. Race leader Briscoe came into the pits for service while Friesen – ignoring the advice of his crew chief – stayed out and put himself in position to take the restart in first place. The action up to this point had made it seem obvious that the truck at the front of the field had a significant advantage – but Friesen was betting that he could go the full distance (75 miles) on one set of tires and one tank of fuel. Was this gamble going to pay off?

For the 56 laps remaining after the race was green-flagged again – and through five more cautions – Friesen hung onto the lead, holding off the challengers who restarted beside him after each caution period.

The final restart came on lap 149 – just two laps to go. Sheldon Creed took the restart in fourth place behind Friesen and he quickly dispatched the other two ahead of him – now in second place, he closed up behind Friesen. He made a strong run at Friesen but it was not quite enough and Creed took the checker 0.8 seconds behind the Canadian.

Cheers all around in Friesen’s pit.

PHOTO NGOTS Eldora VictoryLane 08012019Stewart Friesen poses with the trophy after winning the Eldora Dirt Derby (Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

“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.”

Click HERE for the results of the NGOTS race at Eldora.

The next NGOTS race will be held next Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

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