AVONDALE, AZ – Stewart Friesen originally started Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 on the front row in second. Unfortunately for him, pole sitter Austin Hill appeared to spin his tires when taking the green which allowed Friesen to beat him to the line.
That’s a no-no.
Friesen, was penalized for jumping the start in his No. 52 Chevrolet. Luckily for him though, Brandon Jones had spun in Turn 2 on Lap 1 to bring out an early caution. So, instead of Friesen having to serve his penalty under green flag conditions, he pit under the opening caution.
While he’d restart 31st, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Friesen, could end up finishing ninth in the first stage and was fourth in Stage 2. That netted him nine crucial points in the standings.
But, in the end, he didn’t end up needing them. Friesen, passed Jones on the Lap 106 restart and would lead the final 44 laps en route to not only his second career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series victory, but the win stamps his name into the Championship 4 too.
Friesen, will compete for the championship next weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway as a result of his victory after he led 44 of the 150 laps at the ISM Raceway on Friday night.
It’s his third straight top six finish on the 1.015-mile oval and his fifth top seven in the playoffs to go along with 11 top 10’s in his last 13 starts on the season.
Jones, would finish second in his No. 51 Toyota as the two drivers with the most to lose at the start of the race would come away with 1-2 results. Jones, now has five runner-up finishes in his Truck Series career including a second place run back in June at the Chicagoland Speedway. That coincidentally enough was a race he won a stage in, as his second career stage win came on Friday night, a race he also finished second in.
His Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate of Chandler Smith brought his No. 46 Toyota home third for his fourth top eight finish in as many tries this season. He was eighth in Iowa, fourth in Gateway, second in Bristol and now at Phoenix.
Ben Rhodes finished fourth in his No. 99 Ford. Rhodes, led a race-high 47 laps on Friday night with most coming in the first stage. This was his first top five finish since CTMP, but second in his last 12 starts on the season.
Grant Enfinger rounded out the top five in his No. 98 Ford for his seventh top 10 finish in his last nine starts on the year.
The most drama of the night came in the end when it was Hill vs. Matt Crafton for the final spot to Homestead. Crafton, scored 17 stage points on the night and finished sixth. Hill, scored nine stage points, eight less than Crafton but finished 13th as well. He’d miss out on the Championship 4 by seven points.