Stewart Friesen’s month of October just keeps getting better. Just two weekends after winning the inaugural Super DIRT Week at Oswego Speedway (NY), Friesen scored another big victory on Sunday by winning the 55th Annual Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway (NY). The win was his first in the prestigious Big-Block Modified race.
“(It feels) really good, really good,” Friesen told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’m really proud of the Halmar team, everyone is working really hard and it’s a busy time of the year for us with Super DIRT Week into Brockville and then into Eastern States Weekend. Those are two of the busiest weeks of the year for us, and as far as preparation the amount of work that goes into 200 lap races is a lot. The guys did a great job and we were rewarded with a couple good wins.”
“Not really,” Friesen said when asked whether or not he thought he could win after suffering the flat tire. “We came back on the track and we kind of talked on the radio, we just said, ‘alright, let’s just save it and not tear the car up right now, get what we can get.’ We avoided a couple accidents and all of a sudden we were tenth, then all of a sudden we were sixth making moves with a little bit more tire. We were able to put the pressure on there at the end.”
On the final lap, Friesen was able to pull up to Hearn’s back bumper off of turn two before diving to the bottom side of the track in turn three. The two drivers did make contact, but nothing that Friesen would consider to be more than hard racing.
“It was just hard racing,” he said. “I got to his bumper off of two and he kind of moved down to block, I just stuffed it in there a little bit lower and was able to fill the hole. We bumped a little bit and I guess his tire actually ended up going down off of turn four, his right rear, and he faded back to third. But yeah, it was a pretty exciting last lap.”
The Eastern States win was one that had eluded Friesen prior to Sunday. He had finished as high as second in the race, but had never parked his Big-Block Modified in Victory Lane at the end-of-season event.
For Friesen, the win is even more meaningful given the fact that he beat the all-time winningest driver in the prestigious Big-Block Modified race.
“It was really exciting. Everybody was really pumped up, all my guys were really pumped. It was probably one of the most thrilling wins I’ve ever had in my life.”
Freisen will now look to build on his momentum and cap off an impressive 2016 season during the World Finals at Charlotte (NC) this weekend. While his chances of winning the Super DIRTcar Series championship appear to be bleak at this point of the season, he’s focused on finishing strong.
“Whenever we race on this type of stage with Sprint Cars and Late Models, on a national stage like we’re on this weekend, it’s big for our race teams and big for Big-Block Dirt Modified racing,” Friesen stated. “It’s exciting and getting wins at this time of the year is always key.”
With a win or two this weekend on the big stage at Charlotte, Friesen could very well share legendary baseball player Reggie Jackson’s nickname. He could very well be called “Mr. October.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51