It was a wild night at the “Fastest Half Mile” for playoff drivers Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen.
Chastain started on the outside pole at Bristol and was dominant in the first stage, earning the win in Stage 1. He and pole-sitter Brett Moffitt traded the lead back and forth multiple times between each other. In Stage 2, Chastain finished second to Moffitt.
However, Chastain was involved with some incidents on the track. One was an issue in Turn 4 when Raphael Lessard was spun and Friesen was as well. The Niece Motorsports driver also ruffled some feathers throughout the race by holding his ground and taking no prisoners.
In the end, after a long day and night, Chastain brought home his No. 45 truck in the third position after leading four times for 78 laps.
“It was rough for sure, that’s why they’re all lining up wanting to fight me,” Chastain told MRN Radio. “But let them come one at a time, we’re not afraid of them. It’s a dream come true to be able to drive for Niece Motorsports and be in this championship hunt and I’m not going to back down. We’re going to press the attack, that’s what Al Niece our Marine Veteran and Team Owner instill into us as a race team. TheCarShield Chevy was fast, I wish I was able to race with Brett (Moffitt).”
Friesen and his No. 52 Halmar Racing had a similar night.
The Canadian qualified third and worked hard all night to stay up there. Friesen finished seventh in Stage 1 and fifth in Stage 2. However, his moment came on Lap 152 in Turn 4 when Matt Crafton accidentally made contact with him. At this point, the No. 52 was beaten and battered but that doesn’t matter at Bristol with the track leaning so much on aerodynamics.
Still, despite the incident, Friesen was able to rebound to a fourth-place finish.
“A lot of speed that just didn’t fire off worth a crap,” Friesen told MRN Radio. “That’s kind of in the norm, we don’t fire off good in the last couple of races and kind of puts us in a hole, but fought back and made one good adjustment and that’s all it took. We had a fast car at the end.”
Despite the accident with Crafton, Friesen says they have no hard feelings.
“There wasn’t much contact really,” Friesen added to MRN Radio. “It is what it is, race on. I respect the hell out of that guy (Crafton). He’s a cool dude and we’ll race on. We’re both mature guys and that’s it. We talked a little bit right there and that’s it, that’s all we had to say.”