It’s been quite a month for Sprakers, N.Y., driver Stewart Friesen.
Earlier this month, Friesen and Jessica Zemken exchanged their vows in front of family and friends.
Last weekend, Jessica went out and won the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals while Stewart Friesen was supposed
to be competing in Grandview’s 44th Annual Freedom 76.
Mother Nature had other ideas so the 76er was rain delayed for a week, allowing Jessica to be on hand when Stewart Friesen picked up the $25,000 check for the win on the high banks of the Grandview Speedway.
Freisen was a regular on thePennsylvania 358 Small Block Modified circuit back in 2008, driving for car owner, Norm Hansell. After many frustrating weeks of racing, Friesen made the decision to return home and race up north. It wasn’t long afterward that Friesen’s name began to pop up regularly in the win column.
Friesen returned to the seat of the 357 at the start of this season and scored the win in the season opener at Grandview back in April.
He ended the season at Grandview in victory lane as well, this time Friesen stood in Victory Lane with the Jeff Daley & Sons No. 44 TEO chassis and a big check for $25,000. It was a big win for both Friesen and Daley.
Daley and Friesen have shared some success. Friesen took Daley’s ride to Victory Lane in the Syracuse 200 but the 76er was still a big win.
“It’s about third in line,” Daley stated from Victory Lane. “We were good last year but we had problems. This year we were better. We didn’t draw well for the heat race but he drove his a** off just to qualify,” the proud owner stated.
Daley picks and chooses the events that he and Friesen will partner in. This was just their second race this season as they now prepare for their return trip to the Moody Mile.
Friesen muscled his way from the back of the pack in the second heat race to take the final qualifying spot. His luck was better when it came time to draw for the feature. Friesen drew six which put him outside the third row.
Lapped traffic was heavy for race leaders around the lap thirty mark. While Ryan Watt led the field, Friesen closed in
on Duane Howard who ran second at the time. Friesen was able to use the lapped traffic to complete the pass for the runner- up spot. A lap thirty-two restart lined Friesen up with Watt. Friesen used the outside line to take the lead.
When the race was halted for the mandatory fuel stop, Friesen held the lead over Howard, Danny Johnson, Watt and Anthony Perrego.
“Watt is the one who showed me the top,” Friesen explained.
After Watt showed his nose to Friesen on the outside, Friesen adjusted his line and moved further up the track.
“It was a relief to see the white flag,” Friesen added as lapped traffic again became heavy as the leaders raced to the
finish. The feature winner noted that his left rear tire was pretty well used up by the race’s end.
Friesen and Anthony Perrego conferred on the track during the intermission prior to the main event. As the two drivers examined the racing surface, they discussed tires for the upcoming race.
“We learned a little bit here running those Race of Champion races,” Friesen explained.
“The car was really balanced.” Friesen’s drive validated his high marks for his equipment.
The 44th Annual Freedom 76 was history and another name has been added to the history books. This time, the race was won by a native Canadian – for only the second time in the race’s history.
For the second time this season, one of Grandview’s big events was won by an invader.
Danny Johnson won the Forrest Rogers Memorial back in August and now Friesen captured the 76er.
The Grandview Speedway has always been special to Stewart Friesen. Friesen has many fond memories of his time spent at the third mile with his late uncle, Alex. All of this makes his win in the 76er just that much more special.
“I really love to race here,” Friesen related after his win. “Winning this race is right up there with the Syracuse 200. It’s one of my Bucket List races.
“Jeff (Daley) has had this race on his radar,” Friesen continued. “This is only our second race this season. We ran at Ransomville earlier this year. I’m really lucky to have a car and a team like this to race for,” Friesen added.
Friesen and Daley have raced together since 2004. With the 76er behind them, the team will now turn their attention to the Moody Mile.