Stewart Friesen rebounds from penalty to win Phoenix truck semifinal

Photo via @NASCAR_Trucks/Twitter

An infuriated Stewart Friesen was screaming at NASCAR over a controversial penalty on Lap 1 after Friesen was called for jumping the start. On replay, pole-sitter Austin Hill did spin the tires on the start that put Friesen ahead when they crossed the line. \

Say what you want about the rule because it did not matter in the long run as Friesen would overcome that penalty to win the Lucas Oil 150 at ISM Raceway. This is his first NASCAR win on a paved oval as his only other win came back in the summer at the Eldora dirt track.

This race was defined by overcoming adversity as both the top two finishers, Friesen and Brandon Jones had issues early on: the penalty for Friesen and Jones spun on Lap 2.

Tonight was a struggle for many of the playoff drivers. Tyler Ankrum went to the rear of the field and, eventually, lost two laps as he suffered a penalty and could not beat the pace car coming off of pit road. Ankrum would finish 27th, which eliminated him from advancing to the Championship 4.

Austin Hill was on the pole but that was all he would see at the front as pit strategies would see him fall to the middle of the pack, which resulted in him making contact with Brett Moffitt in stage two and being collateral damage when the field stacked up in the final stage. Hill finished 13th and also failed to the reach the playoffs.

Ross Chastain and Matt Crafton claimed the final two spots in the Championship 4 after solid top ten runs. Chastain was glad that the championship race wasn’t at Phoenix this year because “I sucked”. On the other hand, Crafton said he had no pressure coming into this race and is very excited for the championship to come to Phoenix next year. During the race, there was an exchange between Crafton and his Thorsport teammates but it was nothing too serious as Crafton was only a little upset for one of his teammates sticking onto his left-rear quarter panel.

The most impressive run of the night came from Kyle Busch Motorsports driver, Chandler Smith. He was my underdog pick going into tonight and he did not disappoint. He ran towards the front the entire night and wound up finishing third in only his fourth career truck start.

The truck series will hold its championship finale next Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Between Moffitt, Friesen, Crafton, and Chastain, who do you think is the favorite to win the 2019 Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship?

 

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