By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
After a disastrous start, Stewart Friesen salvaged a top-10 finish at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
The NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series playoff driver battled his championship rivals throughout the run to the finish. Friesen’s No. 52 Halmar International Chevrolet Silverado battled Austin Hill, Johnny Sauter, Ross Chastain, and Tyler Ankrum throughout the final 14 laps.
Friesen was the fastest in his pack of five playoff drivers. He hounded fellow series regular Harrison Burton as he attempted to gap his playoff rivals. Friesen appeared to have a fifth-place run locked up until his truck ran out of fuel on the final lap of the Chevrolet Silverado 250. He crossed the line in seventh.
The seventh-place run appeared in doubt before the race even started. Friesen, who started 12th, had to fall to the rear prior to the start. The Canadian driver wrecked in practice and was forced to utilize a back-up truck.
“It was a battle for sure,” Friesen admitted. “I screwed up in practice, wrecked our primary. That’s a bummer. The back-up is your back-up for a reason. We were able to battle up through there, almost had a top-five and started running out of fuel at the end, a couple of guys got us. Good day for the Halmar team. Tripp (Bruce, crew chief) called an awesome race. We still got out of here with some points. We’ll march on.”
The speed in Friesen’s back-up truck was evident early. He climbed from the rear of the field to finish the first stage in seventh. Pit strategy kept Friesen from earning points in the second stage.
The seventh-place finish was the 13th top-10 for Friesen this season and the 34th of his career.
The top-10 finish moved Friesen up from fourth to third on the playoff grid. He is 44-points behind points leader Brett Moffitt. Friesen is just six points ahead of Grant Enfinger, the first driver behind the cutoff for the second round of the playoffs.