Coming into the 12th race of the 2019 season, Stewart Friesen and his No. 52 Halmar Racing team had not yet won a race, despite being so close many times.
Friesen was looking to change that entering the Camping World 225 at Chicagoland Speedway. He had a decent qualifying spot of 10th and remained consistent in both stages, picking up a couple of stage points. The No. 52 team finished eighth in Stage 1 and sixth in Stage 2.
He never got to lead a lap but was battling side-by-side with Brandon Jones for the second place spot for a few laps. However, the side-by-side battle ended when the last round of pit stops began with less than 35 to go.
Friesen pitted from the top five but was able to get his position back after the pit stops cycled through. He and Jones battled it out again, but it allowed race leader Brett Moffitt to run away with the win. Friesen gave it all he could for the No. 52 Halmar Racing team, but once again had to settle for a third-place finish.
“Just me, I made a bad call in practice yesterday (Thursday afternoon),” Friesen said in his post-race interview with MRN Radio. “Hot and greasy track kept the car pretty tight, kind of bit us in the ass. Trip (Crew Chief) and the boys had to adjust on it all race. Great pit stops by the guys, got us some track position there. Once we got toward the front, we were fast. Just not as fast as Brett (Moffitt) and the 51 (Brandon Jones). Great race for us, thanks to Halmar and Orange County Fair Speedway, big race in August, so it’s cool to have those guys on board.”
It was Friesen’s seventh top-five finish of the 2019 season. He sits second in points, 52 points back behind championship points leader Grant Enfinger.
For Harrison Burton and his No. 18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota team, it was a solid but quiet night for the Kyle Busch Motorsports entry.
Burton started in the eighth position but showed he had a fast truck through both the stages. In Stage 1, Burton finished sixth while he placed fourth in the second stage. Burton was able to miss all the melee during the race and kept himself in contention. However, his truck wasn’t good enough for the late green flag run, as well as the adjustments made during his final pit stop with 30 to go.
The No. 18 KBM driver would have to settle for a fourth place finish without leading a single lap.
“If I knew, I would probably have a higher paycheck,” Burton said describing his race to MRN Radio. “We’re just working really hard, all the guys at KBM busting their butts, day in and day out, giving us really fast trucks. They’re fun to drive and just lucky to be in this position. We’re fighting our way into the Playoffs. That’s a lot of fun for a team to try and come back to get to the Playoffs, and scratch and claw their way in. If we get in, they better watch out.”
Burton’s fourth-place finish was his fifth top five of the 2019 season. Burton sits sixth in the championship points standings, 111 points behind first place.