2017 is barely in its third month but it’s already proving to be a big year for Stewart Friesen. The man known as “Mr. Freeze” is contending for the Rookie of the Year title in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on pavement. But as if that wasn’t already big enough, Friesen and his Halmar Friesen Racing team are helping develop a brand new Big Block Dirt Modified chassis.
The race car is a “DKM Chassis” and is run out of the same DKM Fabrication shop that has helped Friesen race for years.
“The guys that own DKM Fabrication have been friends of mine for years,” Friesen told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We’re really close and they’ve been helping me out at the races for years. They started this shop and they’ve been doing bodies and some fabrication and they had an idea to build this car last year. It’s a little bit different. It has different torque-arm geometry, different driveline geometry. So I wanted to give it a shot and see what we had.”
Friesen ran the new car a few times at the end of the 2016 season before realizing that they needed to make a few changes to the design. The second incarnation of the DKM Chassis was used by Friesen in his only race at the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park (FL) last month. Friesen finished seventh but he said he had engine issues that night that affected their run.
“Testing it at Volusia was good. I was really surprised with it. We designed it to have a little more side bite than what we’ve had in the past and I think we were spot on there. We had some motor problems in Volusia so we were only able to muster up a seventh with it. I think if the motor was running as good as it should have been then we could have had a nice top three or a top five. We’re going to run it this weekend in Georgetown, Delaware and see what we’ve got and keep working with it because I think we’re really on to something here.”
The Canadian Big Block ace describes this new chassis as “simple and different,” even though it was fully engineered on a computer program, according to Friesen.
“The car was fully mapped out before we started bending and cutting pipes,” he explained. “It goes together really clean. It’s really a nice way to build a car. I just really agree with it.”
One would figure that developing and testing a new race car chassis design while also running the full 23-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule would be a difficult task, but Friesen said it’s actually the exact opposite.
“I think it actually makes it a little bit easier. We’re not going to be in any points race so I think we can go to the race track and not be worried about taking a swing at something and totally missing because it isn’t going to totally affect our season. We’re going to be able to race another day. We’re going to try to run all of the Super DIRTcar Series, but we won’t have that home track deal so we’re basically throwing points away there anyway at the end of the year. So really, this is actually good timing with the Trucks Series. We had two quick ones there and now we have time off. We’ll be able to hit a bunch of dirt races here in the next two months and hopefully dial it in and maybe bang out a couple of wins too.”
At this point, Friesen doesn’t have a schedule set in stone like he usually does. He said he’s taking everything on a monthly basis, but he plans on being at as many of the big Super DIRTcar Series and Short Track Super Series events as possible. That begins this weekend at Georgetown Speedway (DE) where Friesen will get back behind the wheel of a Big-Block Modified for the second time this season after having already run two NCWTS events.
And when he gets to Georgetown, the main goal is to continue to develop the DKM Chassis and continue to gain an advantage on his dirt Modified brethren.
“Everybody out there either has a Troyer or Bicknell, but this was just kind of a deal to have our own stuff, and if we could find that advantage with something that no one else has for a little while then that’s something we want to do.”
Speed51.com will carry live Trackside Now coverage of Saturday’s Short Track Super Series Melvin L. Joseph Memorial beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com