Under Toyota for the first time, Stewart Friesen had a substellar 2020 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. However, in 2021, Friesen responded nicely, advancing to the Round of 8 for Halmar Racing and contending for a spot in the Championship 4.
Top-five finishes: 7
Top-10 finishes: 9
DNFs: 4 (Daytona, Darlington-1, Texas, Talladega)
Average running position: 10.66 (7th)
Quality passes: 670 (3rd)
Driver rating: 91.5 (8th)
EARLY SEASON CONSISTENCY – Although Friesen didn’t contend for many victories in the early part of the season, he remained consistent after a season-opening crash at Daytona International Speedway.
Friesen placed 11th at the Daytona road course and finished fourth at Las Vegas. Two weeks later, Friesen collected his second top 10 of the season with a 10th place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In the following three races at Bristol Motor Speedway (dirt), Richmond Raceway and Kansas Speedway, he finished 12th, 13th and 14th, respectively.
Through seven races, Friesen was fifth in points.
MUSIC CITY MAGIC – In the first Truck Series race at Nashville Superspeedway in 10 years, Friesen finished fifth after a crash at Texas Motor Speedway the week before. He collected 32 points and led five of the 150 laps.
Had Friesen not placed well at Nashville, it could’ve affected his playoff standing. He finished 20th or worse, including a 33rd at Pocono Raceway, in the following three races leading up to the Playoffs.
PLAYOFF PERFECTION – Friesen and his team found incredible speed to open the 2021 Playoffs. He finished in the top-five of all three Round of 10 races, placing fourth at WWT Raceway and Bristol and third at Darlington Raceway. Entering the Round of 8, Friesen trailed Zane Smith by just eight points for a spot in the top-four.
Friesen opened the Round of 8 with a sixth-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but his luck expired a week later at Talladega Superspeedway.
OLE ‘DEGA – Ahead of Talladega, Friesen was third in points and a strong run would put him in a great position to transfer into the Championship 4. However, he sustained heavy damage in a late-race crash while contending for the victory. In the cutoff race at Martinsville Speedway, Friesen could have still transferred on points, but his best option was to win. He restarted on the front row of a green-white-checkered finish but crashed, finishing 17th.
Friesen finished second in the championship race at Phoenix Raceway a week later. If Friesen emerged victorious at Martinsville, he would’ve won the championship. However, Chandler Smith won Phoenix while series champion Ben Rhodes finished third.
SUMMER STRUGGLES – As mentioned before, Friesen finished 20th or worse in the final three races of the regular season to jeopardize his playoff chances. He also finished 25th at Darlington in May and 34th at Texas in June.
Friesen enters 2022 with elevated expectations. He’s shown Halmar has enough speed to win — the team just needs to put a full season together. He’ll also have a teammate for part of the season as Todd Bodine is expected to compete in six races.
At this point, Friesen has one of the top trucks in the series and is expected to win. He won twice in 2019 and finished fourth in points, so Friesen is expected to again contend for a championship spot.
With his dirt racing background, Friesen has superb talent. All he needs is a Truck Series Championship to his name, and he’ll have a massive opportunity to do so in 2022.