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Toyota Racing – NCWTS Martinsville Quotes – Stewart Friesen – 10.27.21

Toyota Racing – Stewart Friesen
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Quotes

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (October 27, 2021) – Halmar Friesen Racing driver Stewart Friesen was made available to media via videoconference prior to the Martinsville race weekend today:

STEWART FRIESEN, No. 52 Halmar International Toyota Tundra, Halmar Friesen Racing

How have you been staying busy and ready since the last race?

“Since Talladega, the last three weeks we have been really busy up here in the Northeast with our Big Block Modified team. We ran Super Dirt Week at Oswego, the 200 there. We ran Port Royal, another 200 in Pennsylvania with the Short Track Super Series, and we just finished up the Eastern States 200 this past weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway right outside of New York City. The last three weeks have been the busiest of the season for the dirt modified world, so we are getting a little bit of a breather now going back NASCAR racing and looking forward to that.”

What does it mean to you to make the Championship 4?

“It would be very gratifying. Not only for me, but our entire race team. For where we were from the start of 2020, starting the new team from the ground up with Halmar, with the support from TRD and the guys from Toyota to where we are now – since the Playoffs have started competing for top-fives. Building a championship winning team was the goal all along and we knew it would take time, so I think we are probably ahead of realistically the time it takes to build a championship team. We’ve done a really good job. Our guys have done a really good job. Chris Larsen with providing the equipment to do this. We knew where we wanted to be and we are there, and for us to make that Championship 4 this year in our second full season would be really, really gratifying. If we don’t, it is what it is. As long as we go to Martinsville and have a solid truck and don’t shoot ourselves in the foot – if we put our cards on the table and it is what it is at the end of the day and we don’t make it, hey, at least we went down trying and we will be back in 2022 to try again. If we do make that Championship 4, we are really excited about that. We have a good package for Phoenix. We have good notes for Martinsville and Phoenix. I believe we have an outside shot at the championship, so we will see what happens.”

What would you be looking for at the Next Gen test that you are going to participate in?

“It’s going to be interesting. First, it caught me by surprise when Jerry from NASCAR called and let me know that they were looking at me to run that test. It’s something that is really, really cool. It’s something that I’m really proud to do and help out with. We are still going to try to get back to Bristol in a Cup car, however that may shake out this year. We haven’t taken that off of the map, but for them to ask me to do it was something that was really, really awesome. I’m just going to try my best to help in all aspects. It’s primarily a tire test. I believe we will have a bunch of different compounds. We will run through a bunch of stuff. The engineers will look at temps and wear. Wythville, the surface there is a red clay surface, similar to what goes on Bristol. I believe the abrasiveness in the clay will be similar, so I think it will be a pretty good test to see how the tires hold up. I made one suggestion after Bristol and Knoxville that I think the cars and trucks would race better on a harder tire – similar to what we used at Eldora. We will see what happens. We will see what they bring, and we will try to go there and run some laps and have some fun with it. It’s going to be a pretty cool experience for me and hopefully, I will be able to give them as much feedback as I can to NASCAR and Goodyear so ultimately, we can have the best races at Bristol.”

Why would a harder tire be better for the dirt races?

“Just because it would be less demand on the racetrack. The harder tire tends to polish up a dirt track more, so it gets more of a beat on the wall at the top and a search for moisture on the bottom rather than just lay rubber lock down single file on the bottom, which kind of is where Bristol went after so many laps. We pit and we get tires, and you could race for 10-15 laps and then at the end of the segments we were kind of just locked in on the bottom. I think a harder tire will keep the track a little more polished up and let fans see a dirt race that they would like to see with cars beating the right rear off of the fence and guys catfishing on the bottom and searching for that moisture just to widen the track out and not be so demanding on the track and break it apart and make the holes and the dust that we saw.”

Coming in just below the cutoff line, are you wanting to know points updates throughout the race?

“A little bit. Jonathan Leonard, our crew chief, does a good job of that – just kind of keeping the big picture in play. That’s more for him to worry about during the race. I just get to go there and race. I will race as hard as I can to stay inside the top-five through both stages and make some stage points. I think that’s our goal – make some stage points to have a little bit of a cushion going into the last stage when kind of all hell breaks loose in the Truck races at Martinsville. We will watch other guys. Everyone in the Playoff hunt is looking at stage points. We have to race for stage points. We really can’t afford to short pit and try to get that track position. We need some stage points first, and then race it at the end. That being said, you’ve seen guys at Martinsville pit late and get tires and be able to come back through, so we will see what happens but for sure, we will watch the competition and if they are faster than us and if we need to come in and make and adjustment, we will make sure we do that and we don’t leave anything on the table.”

Have you raced at the Wythville track?

“I haven’t. I’ve raced a bunch of stuff in North Carolina, South Carolina in the past year since we started the dirt late model thing. I did that a little bit too. Our modified has been there a little bit more since COVID, but I haven’t actually been to Wythville. I’ve seen a lot of videos from there, similar to like a smoky mountain type of track, and kind of similar type of clay to a Cherokee and what goes down on Bristol. I’m looking forward to it.”

Has the three week-break since Talladega help you get past the wreck there?

“A little bit, I guess. We had some really great momentum throughout the Playoffs going into Talladega, and it is what it is. We brought a really fast truck. Our guys did a really good job executing the race. I was trying to put ourselves in position to be in the top-five on those last five laps just to have a shot at it, and kind of all hell broke loose with Grant (Enfinger) and Sheldon (Creed) there and we got collected up. It does feel good to have three weeks off and go back modified race a little bit, let the guys at the shop take a breath. The first part of the Playoffs was pretty wide open for the Truck Series, so they guys were able to take a breath and regroup a little bit and focus on our Martinsville and Phoenix trucks and put a lot of work into them. They’ve been busy with them, and we have two good pieces to go for that, so yeah, it was a little bit of a regroup for us.”

How well do you feel you need to run at Martinsville to advance?

“I say top-fives pay the bills, but we need to be in the top-fives in stages, if not win a stage to make maximum stage points and have a shot to win. The Playoffs are all about running up front and winning. We’ve been in the top-five. We’ve been close, so hopefully – if we could get a win that would be awesome. I believe in our team. I don’t believe we have an outside shot. I believe we will have a fast enough truck to compete with our competitors in the chase, and nothing is out of the question at this point.”

Are you stressed out about Saturday, or have you been through it enough at this point?

“I’ve been through it. I’m not losing sleep over it yet. Maybe Friday night a little bit. Anything can happen in the Truck Series. I’ve lost races in the 11th hour. I’m optimistic. I think I can go in there and just try to keep my emotion in check all race long and not get excited if something happens in the first or second stage and then we have to kind of drop the plow at the end and start putting the elbows up. That’s what we will try to do. I believe we can bring a fast truck. We had a fast truck there in the fall last year. We were able to win a stage, and we will have a similar package – which I think we even refined to be better yet. I hope we will be fast enough to stay up front and keep guys off of my back bumper. That’s going to be the main thing.”

About Toyota

Toyota (NYSE:TM) has been a part of the cultural fabric in North America for more than 60 years, and is committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through our Toyota and Lexus brands plus our 1,800 dealerships.

Toyota has created a tremendous value chain and directly employs more than 47,000 in North America. The company has contributed world-class design, engineering, and assembly of more than 40 million cars and trucks at our 14 manufacturing plants, 15 including our joint venture in Alabama that begins production in 2021.

Through its Start Your Impossible campaign, Toyota highlights the way it partners with community, civic, academic and governmental organizations to address our society’s most pressing mobility challenges. We believe that when people are free to move, anything is possible. For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyotanewsroom.com.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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