It took 437 laps led and 63 starts but finally, Stewart Friesen is a winner in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. Friesen had to hold off Sheldon Creed and company to win the Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway.
“Thank you to all the race fans that stuck with us, that kept pulling for us,” Friesen said after he got out of his truck in Victory Lane. “Everybody that came to my hauler and thought that this is the week. Today, this is the day. This is part of it!”
“Just thanks to all these race fans. This was meant to be.”
Friesen was on the last spot in the Truck championship but with the win, he is locked into the field of eight for the Truck Series Playoffs that will start in Bristol.
Sheldon Creed came home with a career-best finish of second followed by Grant Enfinger and Mike Marlar, a dirt regular, who came home fourth. Kyle Bisch Motorsports driver Todd Gilliland came home in fifth.
Chase Briscoe and Matt Crafton started on the front row and they are no strangers to being up front on the dirt. Briscoe won this race last year with Crafton winning the year before. Briscoe led from wire to wire even though the stage was slowed by two quick cautions. Landon Huffman who is subbing for Spencer Boyd spun it around. Then Jake Griffin spun it around as well right after the green flag waved from the Huffman spin. When it was all said and done it was Briscoe winning the stage followed by Gilliland, Brett Moffitt, Creed and Crafton to round out the top five.
Most of the leaders decided to stay out after the stage break with the exception of Gilliland and Moffitt while Briscoe continued to dominate as he did in the first stage. Also like the first stage, some yellows disrupted the flow of the action. Harrison Burton spun his truck around on Lap 57 and the dirt version of “The Big One” happened on Lap 65 which involved Austin Hill, Burton, Christian Eckes, Carson Hocevar, Colt Gilliam and more. Many were able to continue but for Hill and Gilliam, their nights were over.
The action and the yellows did not stop though as the No. 34 of Mason Massey spun it around on Lap 76 when he got a cut tire. Creed spun it after they went back to green after the Massey spin but there was no yellow waved.
Like the first stage though it was all Briscoe as he went wire to wire to win the stage.
Friesen stayed out while Briscoe and Crafton, among others, went in to pit after the stage ended. With going in to pit Briscoe restarted 12th while Friesen led the field to green to start the final stage. Friesen started to pull away but it was all for nothing due to the No. 45 of Chastain spinning right in front of the field. But somehow, someway, all of the field escaped without hitting Chastain’s truck.
There were a few more incidents after this one including a yellow that featured three wrecks in one. First, the No. 54 of Kyle Strickler spun trying to navigate the high side and before that the No. 32 of Devin Dodson and the No. 10 of Jennifer Jo Cobb. Last but not least Johnny Sauter and Briscoe got connected after the Strickler spin. Norm Benning spun with 31 laps to go after they went back to green following the multiple trucks that spun in the previous caution. The fun didn’t stop there as Dodson spun it around again with 17 laps to go.
Briscoe was a man on a mission but he tried a little bit too hard and spun out with nine laps to go while battling Creed for fifth. Briscoe went on to finish seventh.
There is only one race left to make the field of eight for the Gander Outdoors Truck Series Championship and that will be determined by the race in Michigan, a week from Saturday (August 3), on FS1.