Stewart Friesen and Ross Chastain have solid day at Martinsville

After starting on the pole and not yet winning a race, Friesen was looking for his first career win today at Martinsville Speedway.

He remained steady by finishing second in Stage 1 but dropped a few spots, finishing fourth in Stage 2. Friesen led twice for 18 laps, however, it was a quiet day for the No. 52 Halmar Racing Team as they wound up fifth for Stewart’s second top five of the season and the 13th of his career.

He also bettered his Martinsville finish from one year ago, where Friesen finished 20th that day after starting fifth. It was also his best Martinsville finish of his career this far.

“Yeah, that’s cool,” Friesen told MRN Radio. “I like to go win races though. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you go points racing for stage points and aren’t doing what the fast guys are doing getting track position. We battled back with the 24 (Brett Moffitt). The 24 dropped a blade on me a couple of times and I was a little timid, and knocked some guys out of the way. At the end, I was just trying to salvage a decent finish there because it was getting pretty wild.”

For Ross Chastain, the same story could be said, but just a higher finish than Friesen. At some points, it looked like he could win but late race cautions and Busch having the better truck ultimately cost him. Still, Chastain has been on a roll this season finishing third at Daytona, sixth at Atlanta, 10th at Las Vegas, and following it up today with a fourth-place finish at Martinsville. It’s his best ever finish and the second top five of the young 2019 season.

“I would say it’s a huge step for us (Niece Motorsports),” Chastain told MRN Radio. “It’s nice to be aggravated with fourth. Everyone didn’t tell me to come run this truck (No. 45) this year and I saw a lot of potential with Al Niece (Team Wwner), Cody Efaw (General Manager), and the whole TruNorth team. I’m glad I did and stuck with my gut.”

“Probably went too hard there to get that stage win and that was a big deal, and was wanting to get that,” Chastain continued to tell MRN Radio. “I just ran out of turn there at the end. I just got too tight. Definitely a lot to build on for sure and a clean race truck. We got a brand new race truck to bring to Texas next week and honestly, I’ve been looking more to Texas than here. So it’s a good sign of things to come.”

Chastain finished fifth in Stage 1 and won Stage 2, ultimately finishing fourth after leading twice for 53 laps.

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