FORT WORTH — Stewart Friesen was running second Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway and working to close the small deficit to leader Christian Eckes. A late caution flag did the work for him.

Eckes chose the outside lane for a two-lap overtime shootout, with Friesen on the inside in his No. 52 Toyota. The two trucks were still side by side one lap after the restart, then Friesen charged ahead in Turn 2 on the final lap and held on for the Canadian’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory since 2019.

“Just needed to hit a clean restart — probably the best restart I’ve hit in my career,” Friesen said. “We were able to race with him and then throw a big slider in [Turns] 1 and 2 and get clear.”

After restart

SpeedyCash.com 220 race winner Stewart Friesen (52) is shown during a restart Friday night, May 19, 2022, at Texas Motor Speedway in Denton County. 

Eckes took the lead from Carson Hocevar with 34 laps remaining in the SpeedyCash.com 220, while Friesen and Cup Series All-Star Ross Chastain engaged in a furious battle for third.

Contact with Grant Enfinger sent Tyler Ankrum for a spin with 20 laps to go, bringing out the yellow flag. Eckes protected his lead on the restart and led by 0.13 seconds with 10 to go.

Tanner Gray rebounded off the backstretch wall and into the truck of Ben Rhodes with five circuits remaining, setting up the overtime finish.

“We were a little bit tight there later, and if it stayed green we would’ve been fine, but we had to win the damn thing three times,” Eckes said. “We just were in the wrong position at the end. I knew going into 1 and 2 he was going to hold it wide open and I was going to hold it wide open and whoever won won, so they had a little bit more speed than us. And, man, it’s frustrating.”

Friesen’s two previous wins came in 2019 on the dirt track at Eldora and the 1-mile oval of Phoenix Raceway.

“Big thanks to [Ryan] Preece, he pushed the snot out of me,” Friesen said of the final restart. “I knew the odds were a little more in our favor when he wound up with us, so I appreciate him for that.”

The margin of victory was 0.12 seconds back to Eckes. Preece finished third, followed by Hocevar and Ty Majeski. John Hunter Nemechek, Corey Heim, Chandler Smith, Matt Crafton and Matt Dibenedetto rounded out the top 10.

Six-time TMS winner Todd Bodine finished 13th, Hailie Deegan 17th and Texans Austin Wayne Self and Brennan Poole 18th and 23rd, respectively.

“I felt that if I could push Stewart and put him in a position where they were side by side and just put them in an awkward position, that it would give me my best chance to try to win that race,” Preece said. “I felt like we did, just [Friesen] was able to clear [Eckes] there and we had to settle in for third.”

Preece led 27 laps and won Stages 1 and 2. Friesen led a race-high 60 laps around the 1 1/2-mile oval.

Gragson on Xfinity pole

Noah Gragson earned his first Xfinity Series pole Friday with a lap of 182.79 mph in the No. 9 Chevrolet of JR Motorsports.

Gragson has two wins this season, the second of which started a three-race win streak for JRM.

“Really special — this is a track where I got my first Truck Series pole in 2017, and to be able to do it here again is really cool,” Gragson said. “Found something in practice that there was a lot of speed to, just line-wise, and utilized it there in qualifying.

“We have three wins in a row [by JRM]. All good things come to an end, but we want to keep it going as long as we can.”

Tyler Reddick qualified second, followed by Daytona winner Austin Hill, Martinsville winner Brandon Jones, Ryan Truex and Justin Allgaier,

The SRS Distribution 250 was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Cup Series cars hit the track for the first time at 6 p.m. Saturday for brief practice sessions, followed by qualifying both for Sunday’s All-Star Race and the Open, which is the last-chance qualifying race for the All-Star Race.

MATT CRIDER may be reached at mattcrider99@gmail.com and via Twitter at @countryMCdenton.

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