By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
FORT WORTH, Texas – Hours after categorizing his Chevrolet Silverado as “bad fast”, Stewart Friesen had the win in Friday night’s PPG 400 at Texas within his sights, but would have to settle for second place after falling short on the final restart.
Friesen had shown speed in both practice and qualifying ahead of the 400-kilometer race, taking the green flag from the pole and holding his own throughout the majority of the race. In the first two stages alone, the driver of the No. 52 truck led three times for 13 laps, as well as winning the first stage and scoring a runner-up finish in the second stage.
However, pit strategy came into play in the second half of the race and that would be the last time the Canadian driver would find himself in the lead.
“Just not making any mistakes as a race team, that’s all,” Friesen said of the way the race played out. “We’ve done it twice now. We let Vegas get away due to mistakes and we let this one get away due to a stupid mistake on when to pit. That’s what it takes.
“Halmar International puts a lot into this deal to get me to race at this level and I appreciate all of that. I really love running this Chevrolet Silverado. Chevy puts a lot into it. GMS fab shop is frickin’ awesome. They gave me the best truck in the shop. Probably it was the best truck in the field tonight and for whatever reason, it was pretty obvious we couldn’t execute it.”
As the race neared the finish, Friesen was running in the top-five when a late race caution set up a restart with three laps to go.
Having to start outside of Johnny Sauter for the final restart, speedy dry that was put down in the upper groove as a result of the preceding caution would hamper him in being able to challenge for the lead right away. After dropping to third behind Justin Haley on the restart, he was able to power back to second down the backstretch on the final lap and set his sights on Sauter and his first Truck Series win.
It would be too little, too late though as he made it to Sauter’s rear bumper, but could progress no further, having to take a runner-up finish instead.
“We had a good roll on him and could have had him there,” he added of the final charge on the restart. “The speedy dry in the second groove on the restart for oil that wasn’t even there. Whatever, it is what it is.”
Friday night’s finish marks his third top-five finish of the season, following a fifth at Las Vegas and a third at Kansas, leaving him seventh in points heading into next weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway.