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Stewart Friesen will compete full-time in Truck Series

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Halmar Friesen Racing intends to compete full-time in the Camping World Truck Series this season, the team announced Friday.

The team fields the No. 52 Chevrolet driven by Stewart Friesen.

Friesen started 19 of the series’ 23 races in 2017. It failed to qualify for two races and did not enter two others as it transitioned into a technical alliance with GMS Racing.

The team, which began competing in the Truck Series in 2016, will continue in the technical alliance that was announced last August. HFR was previously in an alliance with Tommy Baldwin Racing.

“I am excited to get back to work this season with the team,” Friesen said in a press released. “We are well prepared and have the people and equipment to give us the ability to win on any given weekend and contend for the championship. Trip and the crew are some of the hardest working, most dedicated people I’ve ever worked with. They gave me a successful rookie season and I’m confident 2018 will be even better.”

Friesen, a native of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, earned two top fives and five top 10s last season.

His top fives came at Eldora and the fall race at New Hampshire. He earned his first-career pole at Eldora and went on to finish second.

In the last seven races of the year, Friesen finished in the top seven four times.

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Halmar Friesen Racing Truck team splits with Tommy Baldwin Jr., forms alliance with GMS Racing

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Halmar Friesen Racing, which operates the No. 52 Chevrolet Silverado in the Camping World Truck Series, has parted ways with Tommy Baldwin Jr. and has formed a technical alliance with GMS Racing for the remainder of the season.

Team co-owner Chris Larsen told NBC Sports Wednesday afternoon that the team is not shutting down or suspending operations, but rather is in the process of integrating much of its operation with GMS Racing.

That includes moving into GMS’s shop, sharing technical expertise, equipment, engineering and support, Larsen said.

Larsen said the team will continue to be operated independently, so it won’t be considered as another GMS truck.

“We’re shifting to a technical alliance with GMS,” Larsen said. “We’re hoping this will take our team to another level.

“(GMS has) been gracious enough to work with us and share some of their technical expertise, fill in on equipment that we had with Tommy and stuff like that. GMS will fulfill our need with that.”

To facilitate the changeover to GMS and further prepare its trucks, Halmar Friesen Racing will be skipping next weekend’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and may also skip the race at Chicagoland Speedway.

It will be the second time the team has skipped races in 2017, having missed Gateway and Iowa earlier this season.

Stewart Friesen, who is both driver of the truck and a co-owner of the team, will remain behind the wheel when HFR returns to the track, Larsen said.

Friesen, a Canadian native, has competed in 12 of the series’ first 14 races this season. He is currently 15th in driver points with a best finish of runner-up at Eldora (he also won the pole for that race).

Joining forces with GMS will also allow HFR to further expand its search for sponsorship for next season, Larsen said.

“We’re in the same boat as everybody else, everything is dependent on sponsorship,” Larsen said.

As for Baldwin, he joined forces with HFR earlier this year, overseeing operations. But both sides decided recently to “part ways amicably,” Larsen said.

“We just agreed things weren’t progressing at the rate we wanted,” Larsen said. “For us to go to another level, we needed more focus and full-time commitment to just our truck.

“Tommy helped us to get to where we are and we couldn’t have done it without him. We just agreed to split ways.

“And with our new alliance with GMS, we’re very confident we’ll finish the season strong by doing this.”

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Halmar Friesen Racing enters Truck Series under leadership of Tommy Baldwin

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Stewart Friesen

Halmar Friesen Racing has been announced as a new full-time team in the Camping World Truck Series with its day-to-day operations led by Tommy Baldwin Jr.

The team is founded by Chris Larsen and Stewart Friesen. Friesen, who will drive the No. 52 Chevrolet, is a veteran of modified and sprint car racing who made his Truck debut last year at Eldora Speedway as part of a six-race program with Larsen.

Friesen’s best result was 13th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I’m super excited to be part of the Halmar Friesen Racing team,” said Friesen in a press release. “We did a bit of racing last year to get our feet wet on asphalt, and we were pleased with our success. Everything we have going on with Tommy is exciting. It’s great to have his experience guiding our team so we can hit the ground running in Daytona.”

The team purchased the trucks and points that were used by JR Motorsports, which closed its truck program following the 2016 season.

Baldwin’s managing position with the team comes after he sold Tommy Baldwin Racing’s charter in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series last month. TBR fielded the No. 7 driven by Regan Smith last season. Despite selling his charter to Leavine Family Racing, Baldwin says all of his Cup equipment is still in his possession.

“I have all my assets,” Baldwin said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday. “I have the Cup program just sitting there.”

Baldwin said he expected to make further announcements in the coming week about more of his 2017 plans.

Baldwin’s relationship with HFR began when he lent the team equipment last year.

“All of our employees that were with TBR at time, most of them have shipped over to the truck side,” Baldwin said. “I let all of the guys know probably a month and a half before the season ended so they could get a head start on everybody trying to find some work. … This truck programs started probably in November gaining some momentum.”

The Truck Series season begins on Feb. 24 at Daytona International Speedway.