Interview

From Dust to Dirty Dancin’, Jessica Friesen Ready to Battle Truck Field

By: Ashley McCubbin

If you took a walk through the Halmar Friesen Racing in the past, you may have noticed a truck pushed off to the side, collecting dust. The team originally acquired it, but knew it would take too much work to update to the current speedway package.

The next plan was simple – turn it into a dirt truck, and not just for anyone but for Jessica Friesen.

“It was kind of a joke with the guys written in the dust on the roof that it’s going to be Mom’s ride, Jess’ truck,” she told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “so it was kind of – Stewart had mentioned it a couple times, Trip Bruce had mentioned it a couple times. I said, ‘Well, you know, I’m up for it; I’d love to do it.’

“With Chris Larson, he’s been amazing with everything that he’s done for us and everything he’s done for Stewart with the modified team. Stewart asked me whether I wanted to give it a try and I was like, ‘Of course I do’. I was able to put the pieces back together with some of my sponsors and long-time supporters.”

While it is surprising for some to see Stewart Freisen race against his wife Jessica this weekend, she is not someone who should be skipped over in regards to ability. Jessica has been behind the wheel for many years herself in the dirt scene, running a combination of sprint car and outlaw modified events – with several trips to victory lane.

Despite this being one of the more unique opportunities for her, she says she’s just taking it in like any other race.

“Stewart and I already talked about it, as far as there’s no pressure,” she commented. “I actually believe Stewart puts more pressure on me racing his modified team than he’s putting on me with this truck team because we have great equipment down at HFR and great people, and it’s a well-prepared organization. He’s actually put less pressure on me for running the truck, so it’s just another race – really.”

She added if the performance is strong, she could possibly run more Camping World Truck Series races down the road.

“As far as being a one-off, right now it is,” she said. “As Stewart said – no pressure, but if it goes well, there could be other possibilities. Right now, it’s a one-off and we’re just going to focus on Bristol and have some fun.”

Stewart knows the task ahead of Jessica, having made several laps in a dirt modified himself, recognizing the challenge she is set to face. It’s why he’s been very upfront with advice for her, including several late night discussions.

“It’s quite a bit different, obviously being the modifieds and sprint cars being center steer with live drive lines, and then obviously sitting on the left side of a truck,” he commented. “So I think it compares to more of what you see in the East with a Dirt Pro Stock or what you see with an IMCA Street Stock that you see throughout the country in body movement and the way it drives. We actually brought a Pro Stock to Georgetown with us in our other modified hauler this past weekend and Jess got some laps in that. I think that’ll be a big training tool in giving her some seat time in it.

“It’s totally different than any of the sprint cars, dirt modifieds that I’ve driven. It’s unique, but I think the racing is better because of that because they’re unhooked compared to the other cars.”

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