27 March’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series dirt race at Bristol Motor Speedway will feature a rarity: a husband and wife racing together. On Thursday, Halmar Friesen Racing announced Jessica Friesen will drive the #62 Toyota Tundra in the race alongside her husband Stewart. It will be her début in NASCAR.
“I’ve been racing Sprint Cars and Modifieds on dirt for my entire racing career, and it’s amazing to get an opportunity to compete at this level,” Jessica said in a team release. “I’m looking forward to the experience of driving a truck for the first time. The fact that this race is happening on dirt is really exciting. I couldn’t ask for a better group to work with than the team we’ve assembled at HFR.”
The Friesens have been married since 2014 and have a son, and both boast experience on dirt with Jessica being a sprint car and quarter midget regular while Stewart specialises in modifieds. The pair has also raced together in various dirt events and 1–2 finishes have taken place on occassion, most recently in August 2020 at Fonda Speedway.
Jessica has raced in a multitude of dirt series including World of Outlaws and the All Star Circuit of Champions. She won the Utica-Rome Speedway dirt sportsman track championship in 2004 and has also competed in the Knoxville Nationals. Prior to connecting with Friesen, she raced for NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart‘s team; her husband won his maiden Truck race at Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in 2019.
Spouses competing in the same race are exceptionally rare, with the Friesens set to be the first in the Truck Series. Elton Sawyer, who currently serves as NASCAR’s Vice President of Officiating and Technical Inspection and was previously the Truck Series’ competition director, raced alongside his wife Patty Moise in what is now the NASCAR Xfinity Series during the 1980s and 1990s. At the top-level Cup Series, the only instance came during the inaugural season in 1949 when Frank and Sara Christian contested the Daytona Beach event, though Frank was more invested in the ownership side than driving.
The Pinty’s Dirt Truck Race will be the first time HFR runs more than one truck. Since their formation in 2016, the team has exclusively fielded the #52 for Stewart Friesen, with Timothy Peters being the only other driver to have run a race for the team when Friesen opted for a dirt event in late 2020 after missing the playoffs. The team has two victories in their history, both in 2019 at Eldora and Phoenix. Stewart is currently sixth in points after three races with a fourth-place finish in the latest round at Las Vegas.
Jessica Friesen’s début will also mark the first race for a #62 truck since Brendan Gaughan drove it for Richard Childress Racing full-time in 2013. Donnie Levister was entered in a #62 in 2016 for Faith Motorsports but did not race.