Stewart Friesen spent a day Thursday, July 11 at Kentucky Speedway. But when the checkered flag came, the Canadian took another place in the final standings.
Friesen's nightmare day began before the Gander Outdoors Truck Series training session when NASCAR confiscated the No. 52 Chevrolet because it did not like the rear firewall's placement in relation to the rear clip. This forced the Halmar Frisen Racing team to deploy the rescue truck.
Both test sessions were below normal for Friesen. The qualifications were even worse, though by design, turning the slowest lap of the session knowing that No. 52 should start at the back of the pack. But the opening phase was not design, only 17th.
A second, precautionary step allowed Friesen to score five points, finishing sixth. But the third step is the one where the No. 52 shone, playing the right strategy to earn a second place for the sixth time in his career.
"We fought, it was a battle," said Friesen after the race. "We started the race and we were completely clear. We were in the race from 15th to 20th place. I worked on it, I got it decent, I managed to avoid a bunch of wrecks and crazy stuff in the middle of the race. … It was an awful morning and afternoon, and I learned a lot today, that's for sure.
For nearly two years, Halmar Friesen Racing has formed a technical alliance with GMS Racing. In the end, No. 52 receives all its GMS chassis.
Due to the confiscated truck, Friesen does not know what to think because team # 52 will likely face a points penalty early next week.
"That says a lot about Tripp Bruce [crew chief] and my six guys is what that says, "added Friesen. "The rest of the organization, I do not know what she says about it. They put us in a bad place with this truck and [I’m] disappointed about it.
"My guys are banging over to put these things in place. They work on what they have and that is what it is. We can not choose the trucks we drive, we just have to operate them. Tripp cared deeply for my interest throughout the year. He was like a big brother. This relationship was pretty cool, it was intense, but after today, I know it is on my side. "
Although he finished second, Friesen thought the No. 52 truck would have won if he had played with the same winner, Tyler Ankrum. With the victory of Ankrum, Friesen is now seventh on the grid of series, although it occupies the second rank of the general classification of the championship.
With the possibility of a points penalty next week, this could make Friesen's chances of making the playoffs a bit more difficult.
"We have to win, that's all," he said. "The second is not good enough. We have been using rescue trucks for three consecutive weeks. [and that] is not good enough Tripp has struggled for me all year long and I appreciate that. "
The series has a week of rest before heading to Pocono Raceway (July 27). In two starts on the track, Friesen has a better finish in fourth position.