May 31, 2017, St. Louis Region – He’s used to winning big races and lots of them. He’s won the prestigious Super DIRT Week 200 (considered the Super Bowl for big-block DIRT Modifieds) at Syracuse, New York five times. But with more than 13 track championships under his belt, Canada’s Stewart Friesen will be a rookie when his team rolls into Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois on June 17 for the annual Drivin’ for Linemen 200 for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
The 33-year-old Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario native comes from a racing family. His late grandfather, Stan, won lots of races on both sides of the border and was the longtime owner of Ransomville Speedway near Niagara Falls and Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario. Stan’s car number was 52 and Stewart’s NASCAR Truck carries it in tribute to his grandfather. Stewart’s father, Jamie, also raced, as did his uncles Joel and Alex.
Friesen is the all-time win leader at Utica-Rome (New York) Speedway, with seven track championships. He also owns four titles at Fonda (New York) Speedway and two more at Five Mile Point Speedway in Kirkwood, New York. He has a huge following of fans from across the Northeast that follow his adventures every week.
With almost all of his triumphs on dirt tracks, wrestling a big-block Modified by cranking the steering wheel and mashing the throttle — or finessing a Sprint Car on its ragged edge — the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a big learning curve for Friesen. With the exception of Eldora, Ohio, each track is a completely new experience.
Chris Larsen and Stewart Friesen formed Halmar Friesen Racing (HFR) to compete on the entire 2017 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. Halmar International serves as primary sponsor on the No. 52 Chevrolet Silverado. Friesen made his debut in 2016 at Eldora and eventually ran six races to maintain his eligibility to run for NASCAR rookie-of-the-year honors in 2017.
“Our season is going along,” said Friesen. “We really haven’t been satisfied with the Truck results but we have pretty decent equipment and I’m confident that we can be a top-10 team once we all start to gel together. With the Modified, things have been going very well. We built our own chassis and we have four wins with that car this year, so were pretty excited about that. Obviously all the dirt stuff will take a back seat to the Truck deal once things really start rolling in June.
“I’m looking forward to going to Gateway Motorsports Park for the first time in June with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Friesen added. “I have never had the opportunity to race there, but I love running at flat 1.25-mile tracks so I am excited to see how successful we will be. I’ve followed the past couple NASCAR Truck races from Gateway and (NASCAR veteran) Tommy Baldwin is great at giving me tips and guidance throughout the race weekend. I feel very confident in my ability to compete for a win in the Drivin’ for Linemen 200.”
Tickets for the June 17 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 are on sale and may be purchased at the GMP ticket office, by phone at (618) 215-8888 or online at www.gatewaymsp.com. General admission tickets start at just $36 and kids 15 and under are free (general admission).
Saturday, June 17
8:30 a.m. — Spectator parking lots open.
9 a.m. — Spectator gates open.
9:30-10:25 a.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
11:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m. — Final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 practice.
1:30-2:30 p.m. — Illinois Lottery 40 ARCA Midwest Tour practice and qualifying.
2-2:45 p.m. — NASCAR driver autograph session.
4:45 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 qualifying.
5:45 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 driver introductions.
6:10 p.m. — ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 40 (40 laps, 50 miles, timed event).
7 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 driver introductions.
7:30 p.m. — NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin’ for Linemen 200 (160 laps, 200 miles).
Schedule is subject to change.
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About Gateway Motorsports Park
Gateway Motorsports Park is the home of INDYCAR, NASCAR and NHRA racing in the St. Louis region. Located just five minutes from downtown St. Louis and covering more than 340 acres, Gateway Motorsports Park is the largest outdoor entertainment facility in the area. Gateway Motorsports Park’s facilities include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 1.25-mile superspeedway, 1.6-mile road course, a state-of-the-art Karting facility and a 14-acre, multi-purpose dirt off-road venue.