Column By: JOHN DOUGLAS JR. / RPW – BARBERVILLE, FL – Stewart Friesen’s 2020 will be a busy one with his NASCAR Truck Series and Big Block Modified schedule.
The focus until Friday night is Volusia Speedway and the DIRTcar Nationals. His second place finish to Larry Wight on Wednesday night keeps him well in the hunt for the champion’s Gator trophy.
The Sprakers, NY driver said of his evening, “We’re just trying some things. Obviously we had it dialed in for speed at the beginning of the night.”
They did. Setting fast time in the combined practice and qualifying session. However, Friesen isn’t sure that’s the way to go about winning at Volusia.
“We’ve just gotta back off on that speed I think and get some slick track speed into this thing. It was good, I was happy with the car but Larry just had the preferred line. I started working the bottom underneath him but then it just rubbered over.” Friesen said of the night’s feature event.
“This track’s really technical and there’s a million different ways around it. When it gets slick and wide you just have to go up there (against the wall) and let the momentum build. You’ve got to use a little bit of that grip on the backstretch to shoot into three. Sometimes it sucks you in a little bit and sometimes it doesn’t.”
Volusia offers a unique challenge to drivers and teams on the Super DIRTcar Series as the shape and very make up of the track’s surface is nothing like the weekly speed plants they compete on during the course of their regular seasons. Friesen appreciates that challenge and looks at it as a learning experience.
“This place has got its own characteristics. It’s definitely a lot different clay than we are used to at home. That’s the beauty of coming here. That’s why everybody comes. It’s a lot of fun to race.”
Friday night will be the only night of competition at Volusia Friesen will not participate in, as he will be at the big track. Daytona International Speedway will be hosting the NASCAR Truck Series season opener, where Friesen will begin another full-time assault on his first NASCAR sanctioned asphalt championship. A strong finish in last year’s series coupled with his first two wins, one being on the dirt at Eldora, sets him up for a strong 2020 with new partnerships in the form of TRD and Kyle Busch Motorsports.
Friesen is excited to get to Daytona and see the result of an off season filled with planning and hard work to prepare a whole new package for competition.
“We’re kind of building everything from the ground up with Chris Larsen and Halmar. Really Chris Larsen being an active owner has been really cool and it’s been fun to work with him on this project.” Friesen added, “Trip Bruce has done an awesome job of putting it all together.”
Things around the shop seem to be gelling better than ever on the NASCAR side of things for the winner of last year’s Eldora Dirt Derby.
“It’s nice to go to the shop and everybody’s pulling the rope in the same direction now so it’s cool. I’m sure it will be very rewarding as well.”