Stewart Friesen has fond memories of racing at Canada’s Ohsweken Speedway.
The track, located just shy of two hours from his hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, is the site of one of the biggest victories of the 38-year-old’s career.
The date was July 28, 2015. Friesen, who is best known as a Dirt Modified racer when he’s not competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, was racing a sprint car against the stars of the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
To the surprise of many in attendance, Friesen emerged as the winner that summer night at Ohsweken, beating champion sprint car racers like Donny Schatz, Brad Sweet and Daryn Pittman in the process.
“It was just a really, really cool night,” Friesen recalled. “My wife Jess was about six months pregnant with (their son) Parker at the time. It was a mid-August race, really hot and it got really slick. She just had it dialed in perfect, and we went out there and raced with the best of the best and got the win.
“It was definitely one of the best moments in my career, and to do it with my wife, with her team and her crew chief was really, really special.”
Now Friesen is returning to Ohsweken, this time to compete in the inaugural NASCAR Pinty’s Series dirt race. The Pinty’s 100 is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 16 and will be available to watch live on FloRacing at 9:35 p.m. ET.
“I’m really looking forward to this deal,” said Friesen, who will drive a car fielded by team owner Scott Steckly on Tuesday evening. “We tried to do it in 2020, and COVID kind of shut everything down. Now two years later we’re finally going to get the opportunity to go racing.”
Friesen isn’t the only driver with NASCAR national series experience expected to participate. Among the other entrants are Joe Gibbs Racing driver and NASCAR Cup Series star Christopher Bell, as well as four-time NASCAR Cup Series winner and veteran dirt racer Ken Schrader.
Also among the anticipated entries are the regulars of the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, including championship leader D.J. Kennington, Marc-Antoine Camirand, Kevin Lacroix, L.P. Dumoulin, Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger, among others.
“It’s very humbling to be able to do this with Schrader and Bell and with all the Pinty’s Series guys, too,” said Friesen, who will also be racing a sprint car at Ohsweken next week. “I’m pretty good friends with D.J. Kennington and Tagliani and some of the big names of that series. It’s going to be a cool event, and I’m really excited for it.”
While many of the drivers slated to compete in Tuesday’s event may not know what to expect, Friesen at least has a general idea. His extensive dirt racing résumé, combined with his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway, Knoxville Raceway and Bristol Motor Speedway, could give him an edge when the green flag waves at Ohsweken.
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“You’re definitely trying to put a square peg in a round hole,” Friesen said. “You’ve got to try and make (the car) handle the surface as best you can, but what we’ve learned the last couple of years is try to not make it something that it isn’t. You’re not going to make a pavement car a dirt car.
“You’ve got to do the stuff that’s within the adjustability of the wheelhouse of the vehicle and do the best you can with it.”
Friesen is excited to race in front of his home crowd and believes Tuesday’s race could be among the biggest motorsports events in Canada this year.
Now seven years removed from one of the biggest wins of his career, Friesen could add another big win at Ohsweken to his résumé.
“We’ll have a lot of friends and family there as well being that it’s a hometown race for me. I’m just looking forward to getting up there and doing it,” Friesen said. “It’s going to be a big event, probably the biggest racing event in Canada this year.”