Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SHERRILL, NY – Stewart Friesen is smiling a little bit more right now.
He has a world renowned company that is standing behind his racing efforts for 2023…and is doing so while honoring a close friend.
On Thursday, Friesen announced a six-race NASCAR Truck Series sponsorship with Ferris Commercial Mowers, the only mowers in the industry that offer patented suspension technology. The company will also be a major associate sponsor for the rest of the events this coming season.
This is something that has been in the works for a while, but mainly due to someone very close to the Sprakers, NY driver.
“This whole situation originated through talking with Bill Shea (Former promoter of Utica-Rome Speedway and former Senior Director of sales at Ferris),” Friesen said. “He had called me a little over a year ago and said there was interest again from Ferris to get into NASCAR racing. They did a few races with Ty Dillon last year and they were looking to expand and the Truck Series seemed like a good fit.”
That got the ball rolling.
“We met over the summer with some of the folks at Ferris and Bill,” he said. “We had them down to our shop in Statesville, NC and we worked out a partnership. This is something we couldn’t be more proud of.”
The deal, as stated for six races. They include Texas Motorsports in April, then the dirt at Bristol the following week, North Wilkesboro in May, World Wide Technology Raceway and Nashville Superspeedway in June and finally on the Milwaukee Mile in August.
This is something Friesen is proud of, but he’d be lying if something wasn’t missing.
“Obviously, we would have liked to have Bill with us and go racing with him this summer,” he said. This was something he was excited to do as he was easing into more of a retirement role at Ferris. Unfortunately, with his passing, we can’t do it with him, but we’ll do it for him and do it in his honor.”
Since Halmar Friesen Racing started their own program and joining Toyota in 2020, they’ve continued to build their team with each lap on track in a championship-caliber organization.
What does it mean to have a company like Ferris behind them as they look to have a strong 2023 season?
“It’s instrumental,” he said. “This allows us to keep going and continue to grow HFR and our presence in the Truck Series. Obviously, being a northeast company and local to my family and our Northeast Modified racing will be something we’re proud to represent.”
This isn’t just putting a logo on a racing machine. This means more for Friesen.
“This isn’t just about the Ferris brand,” he said. “This is also about the thousand-plus employees that are here in Sherrill. That local tie is something that is really cool and something that all of us, Ferris, HFR and myself are proud of.”
In 2022, Friesen came within a whisker of making to his second career championship 4 bid in the Truck Series. Could this six race deal branch out into more in the future?
“That’s definitely something both sides are hoping for,” he said. “Hopefully, we can represent the brand well and gain some positive traction. The six races we’re doing are six big events for the Truck Series with one being in the Briggs & Stratton hometown of Milwaukee.”
Friesen is a fan-favorite on the NASCAR circuit while also in local racing circles. His ability to have a great rapport with the fans is something that is a big attraction for any sponsor, and he’s hoping that working with the folks at Ferris will be a positive all around.
“It’ll be fun to get the Ferris and Briggs employees out to these events and showcase the Truck Series,” he said. “Hopefully we can have a little bit of fun along the way, showcase the brand to the fans of NASCAR and hopefully sell some lawnmowers.”