Photo: Luis Torres/Motorsports Tribune

Stewart Friesen to Make Cup Debut at Bristol Dirt Race

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veteran and dirt ace Stewart Friesen becomes the latest dirt specialist that’ll run at Bristol. Spire Motorsports announced Tuesday that he’ll will pilot the No. 77 Halmar International Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE next Sunday.

Friesen joins the likes of Chris Windom, Shane Golobic and Mike Marlar that’ll be considered as outsiders. However, Friesen has spent the past several years in NASCAR where he’s won twice in 2019, including the final race at Eldora.

The 37-year-old stated it’s a dream come true to compete in the Cup Series with the No. 77 crew.

“It’s the pinnacle of motorsports in North America. As a race fan myself, it has always been something I’ve dreamed about doing,” said Friesen. “I’m really excited to work with Kevin Bellicourt as our crew chief. I’ve known him for a few years now since we worked together at GMS Racing.”

Friesen added that Bellicourt isn’t the only one that’s welcomed him with open arms, Spire as a whole have embraced his presence.

“There’s some stuff we can take from our dirt experience with the truck at Eldora and apply to the Cup car, to hopefully be very competitive at Bristol,” Friesen commented. “Thanks to Halmar International for coming on board as a partner for this whole deal, and thanks to (Spire Motorsports co-owners) T.J. Puchyr, Jeff Dickerson and the whole group at Spire Motorsports for the opportunity.”

Friesen’s paint scheme for the Bristol Dirt Race

Throughout his dirt racing career, Friesen collected over 330 career dirt modified victories. As for his Truck Series campaign, he’s currently sixth in the standings after finishing fourth at Las Vegas earlier this month.

Puchyr said his pedigree on dirt speaks volumes which is why the entire team pursued him to drive a Cup car.

“I’ve watched Stewart with great interest over the last several years,” said Puchyr. “He’s won on dirt and on pavement in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, so we feel like he’s the right driver to put in the No. 77 for the Food City Dirt Race.

“He’s a very talented driver, puts in the work and checks all the boxes. We’re thrilled for him make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in our car and I’m confident he’ll do a good job.”

At the moment, Friesen and Marlar are among the few who’ll run the Truck Series race the day before.

It’s worth noting the Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race (Saturday, March 27 at 8:00 p.m. on FS1) will be special. That’s because Stewart’s wife Jessica Friesen will attempt to make her NASCAR debut at the Bristol Dirt Race.

Should things work out and Jessica makes the grid, They’ll become the first married couple to compete in Trucks. As far as the national touring level is concerned, Elton Sawyer and Patty Moise were the last to do so. They last raced each other in the Xfinity Series race at Atlanta in November 1998.

The Food City Dirt Race will commence March 28 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. It’ll mark the first Cup race on dirt since 1970 at North Carolina State Fairgrounds, won by Richard Petty.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media and a four-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography with ambitions of having his work recognized.