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November 15, 2019

Stewart Friesen

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: We'll continue on with the driver of the No.52 Halmar International Chevrolet, and that's Stewart Friesen. Maybe talk about your race. You were right there in the thick of it, especially in the first two stages, and then the final stage obviously didn't work out for you. Maybe talk about throughout the race the strength of the 52 truck.
STEWART FRIESEN: Oh, we had a little bit of short run speed. I think I just had to push it too hard to keep up with the guys that we were racing, and the bottom would fall out of it there. We could hang for part of a stage, and then it would just back up. Backed up at the end of the first stage, we were able to mount some charges on restarts, but we just didn't have the long run stability to make a bid to run for the championship.
Obviously congrats to Matt and Junior and the ThorSport guys. They're a heck of a race team. Congrats to those guys, congrats to Austin for winning the race. And we just look at that scoreboard there, we just didn't have a chance.

Q. Did you have an issue on pit road and during the final pit stop?
STEWART FRIESEN: Yeah, I got held up by the 44 there. She was on the bottom, and where it played out, there wasn't enough room to try to get around her and then get on pit road. So probably lost a couple seconds there. But that wasn't the total downfall, know what I mean? We just didn't have the long run speed after that.

Q. Regardless of where you finished, you still feel like this was kind of a breakout season for you, getting the first pavement win, getting the first win and making the Championship 4 is not a complete bust?
STEWART FRIESEN: Yeah, obviously the wins were nice, and it's a big thanks to Halmar and Chevrolet and a lot of great race fans for getting us to this level. It's been a dream to compete at this level. But I'm a firm believer in you're only as good as your last race, and this being our last race, it doesn't really sit too well.

Q. Stewart, two questions. First, as Lee said, you look back on this year with some of the highs, but finishing the year like this, is that motivating as far as comeback, and hopefully hit it just as hard as you did in the quest to get that first win?
STEWART FRIESEN: Oh, yeah, absolutely. We need to improve, or we know the areas where we would like to improve as a race team. Chris Larson is a great car owner, and Tripp Bruce is a great crew chief.
We've just got to work a little harder to, I don't know, get some long run speed here at Homestead. Everything comes down to this last race, and we obviously weren't fast enough to compete. It was a bummer, but yeah, there were some highlights in the season. The win at Eldora obviously, the win at Phoenix last week was a major highlight and a lot of support from GMS Fab shop and Chevrolet, so it's nice to have those partners.

Q. No major changes, then, for your program for 2020?
STEWART FRIESEN: I have no idea. This game is very sponsorship driven, obviously, so we'll see what shakes out here in the next couple weeks.

Q. Are you perplexed at all how you got beat by a guy who hadn't had a top 5 since June?
STEWART FRIESEN: Not really. You know, Matt has had speed. ThorSport obviously did their homework at this place. Grant was really fast in this place last year, so I knew Matt would be tough coming in here. Obviously the HRE guys got the bottom figured out, and the 88 was the next best truck.
So that's the way this format works. It's winner take all at the last race. Hats off to those guys for doing a good job and executing when it was on the line.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Stewart. Congratulations on a great year and we'll see you in Charlotte for the awards.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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