Photo: Christian Koelle/Frontstretch

Friesen Eliminated from Playoffs Despite Top 10 at Talladega

By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer

A chance at the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship was not meant to be for Stewart Friesen. The second-year Truck Series competitor had to overcome engine problems, as well as avoid two major accidents to finish inside the top-10.

With an engine that was on the verge of failing, Friesen struggled to keep up in his No. 52 We Build America Chevrolet Silverado. A late caution and restart in the Fr8Auctions 250 gave his Halmar Friesen Racing team new life. However, Friesen was still 15-Points behind the cutoff with five laps to go. He avoided the last lap melee and finished sixth but was seven points out at the checkered flag.

Throughout the majority of the final stage, Friesen was off the pace. His engine was cutting out, skipping, leaving the Playoff Grid driver 20mph off the pace, and in danger of failing minimum speed. The engine trouble kept Friesen away from the lap-60 melee that wiped out 10 trucks.

Under caution, the team tried to recycle the ECU, changed all of the plug wires, among other changes to address the problem. Until the final green flag run, it appeared as if nothing worked. The culprit, a broken valve spring, wasn’t diagnosed until post-race.

Friesen started from the rear after unapproved adjustments. This increased the need for him to move through the field to get into position to earn stage points and negate his deficit. As both stages ended, Friesen was shuffled out of line, denying him the stage points he needed to advance to the Round of Six.

The sixth-place finish is the 13thtop-10 finish for Friesen this season and the 18thof his career. He remains eighth in the Championship Points Standings, two points behind Ben Rhodes, who was also eliminated from the Playoffs. The best points position Friesen can earn at the end of the season is now fifth.

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.