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Abreu Dominates At Chili Bowl

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 14 2021

Rico Abreu stole the show Wednesday night in Tulsa. (File photo)

Two-time event champion Rico Abreu christened a new Spike Chassis with a wire-to-wire win during Wednesday night’s Circle City Raceway Qualifying Night feature, capping Day 3 of the 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla.

Abreu, the Golden Driller Award winner in 2015-16, was forced to roll down the new No. 97 car for his qualifying run after bouncing through a massive flip during Tuesday night’s Vacuworx Invitational Race of Champions. The Californian responded with his sixth consecutive victory around the quarter-mile clay layout at River Spirit Expo Center.

“This Keith Kunz Motorsports Team, they are so good at setting up a car to get better as the race goes on,” Abreu said after the 30-lapper. “It’s really rewarding to drive for such an unbelievable team.”

Abreu gave car-owner Kunz his 31st Chili Bowl victory unchallenged, rolling into the lead from the pole with Alex Bright in pursuit. Abreu built a 2.906-second lead before a caution for Robert Dalby, who flipped in Turn 2 after contact with Parker Price-Miller. The field reverted to Lap 16 on the restart and Abreu quickly pulled away. Caution greeted the field one final time on Lap 24 with third-place Brad Sweet setting his sights on second. Taking the position off Turn 2, Bright answered by retaking the spot off Turn 4.

Buried in the cushion of Tulsa Expo Raceway, Abreu rolled to a 3.588-second advantage at the finish to advance into Saturday night’s Championship A-Feature. Bright held on for second to lock into his third Championship A-Feature. Up from ninth, Sweet crossed third with Jake Neuman and Colby Copeland completing the top five.

Advancing eight positions, Kevin Thomas Jr. finished sixth with Jake Swanson seventh. Daniel Robinson, Price-Miller and Giovanni Scelzi completed the top 10.

Circle City Raceway Qualifying Night saw 62 drivers draw in. Fatheadz Eyewear Heat Race wins went to Emerson Axsom, Price-Miller, Brandon Waelti, Neuman, Tyler Thomas, Kevin Thomas Jr., Abreu and Bright. C-Features went to Shawn Jackson and Jake Neal. Team Toyota Qualifiers were topped by Scelzi, Copeland, Price-Miller and Dalby. Dave.com B-Features went to five-time Golden Driller Award winner Sammy Swindell and Steven Shebester.

The WorldWide Technology Raceway Flip Count made it to 29, with all drivers uninjured.

On Tuesday night, NASCAR veteran Kyle Larson launched defense of his 2020 Golden Driller Award to headline Day 2 of the event. Larson’s fourth Warren CAT Qualifying Night victory in as many years punched the Californian’s ticket into Saturday’s Championship A-Feature for the 10th time since 2010. Larson posted his seventh overall preliminary night win at the wheel of the MAVTV No. 01, finishing 0.395-seconds in front of Thomas Meseraull.

Oklahoma teen-ager Cannon McIntosh opened the 35th annual program Monday night with a statement win, wheeling the Keith Kunz Motorsports-Curb-Agajanian No. 71K to his second Cummins Qualifying Night victory in as many years. McIntosh handed car-owner Kunz his 30th A-Feature win at the River Spirit Expo Center. Runnerup Tyler Courtney also punched his ticket into Saturday’s A-Feature.

The 35th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire continues Thursday with John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night. A limited number of pit passes will be available to the general public, who are reminded that all attending are required to wear masks inside the River Spirit Expo Center.

Fans can follow the action live on http://www.floracing.com. Continued updates also are available on Social Media (@cbnationals) and at http://www.chilibowl.com.

Meanwhile, MAVTV Motorsports Network will provide coverage of Saturday’s closing program starting at 6:30 p.m. (EST). Additionally, fans can tune in to MAVTV at 6:30 a.m. Saturday for a special Tulsa Shootout and Chili Bowl Nationals Marathon leading into the live SPEED SPORT broadcast from River Spirit Expo Center at 6:30 p.m. 

While most of the NASCAR industry continues preparing for next month’s 2021 season-opening Daytona 500, Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman recorded his second-straight appearance at the Chili Bowl Nationals Wednesday night.

Now a 20-year NASCAR veteran, Midget racing is where Newman got his start. This week’s edition of the “Super Bowl of Midget Racing” is showcasing more than 300 competitors from various series. Newman is among of a handful of drivers from NASCAR aiming to advance into Saturday night’s Championship A-Feature. Chase Elliott, the reigning Cup Series champion from Hendrick Motorsports; new HMS Cup teammate Kyle Larson and 2018 Camping World Truck Series champ Brett Moffitt are among the NASCAR regulars slinging dirt this week.

“There’s a little bit of everything here, and that’s one of the things that makes it so special,” Newman said. “Guys from the different ranks show up here, and it’s amazing to know you’re one guy competing against all those guys from NASCAR, INDYCAR, USAC and other ranks.”

The 1999 USAC Silver Crown Champion, Newman is driving the No. 00C as one of five entries for Clauson-Marshall Racing, a two-time National USAC Championship team. Newman, 43, also drove for the Indiana-based organization at the 2020 Chili Bowl.

“We had a good run a year ago and are excited to be back,” Newman said. “We have a great team and great sponsor this year with Driven2SaveLives. My car number, 00C, honors a young man who lost his life and donated his organs. Driven2Save and the Indiana Donor Network are great partners of Clauson-Marshall Racing and proud to run his name on the car. And the fact he saved five lives with his organ donation gives me chills, because here’s someone that raced Quarter Midgets like I did and in the end he became a hero.”

Newman began Wednesday’s program with a sixth-place heat race finish, followed by a second-place run in his C-Feature. Newman’s night ended with a 10th-place result in his B-Feature. He will attempt to advance via a series of additional races.

“It’s just fun to be here,” Newman said. “So many different people from so many different types of racing at an indoor venue on dirt _ it’s awesome.”

Wednesday Results/Circle City Raceway Qualifying Night

Fatheadz Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 15A-Emerson Axsom[1]; 2. 7R-AJ Hopkins[2]; 3. 14F-Cameron Hagin[6]; 4. 91-Jeff Stasa[8]; 5. 70-Cade Cowles[4]; 6. 18L-Logan Scherb[5]; 7. 7JW-Jarrad Warhurst[3]; 8. 17M-Kala Keliinoi[7].

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 4A-Parker Price Miller[1]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell[3]; 3. 55X-Jake Swanson[8]; 4. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[4]; 5. 75-Travis Berryhill[6]; 6. 7J-Shawn Jackson[2]; 7. 77J-John Klabunde[5]; 8. 50K-Kaeden Cornell[7].

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 3W-Brandon Waelti[2]; 2. 22X-Steven Shebester[1]; 3. 1R-Brad Sweet[5]; 4. 27W-Colby Copeland[8]; 5. 00-Karter Sarff[6]; 6. 35X-Tyler Robbins[3]; 7. 8K-Jake Neal[7]; 8. 1L-Cody Lampe[4].

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 3N-Jake Neuman[3]; 2. 45J-Shon Deskins[2]; 3. 19A-Chase Randall[7]; 4. 26R-Tristin Thomas[4]; 5. 71X-Brian Carber[6]; 6. 98C-Slater Helt[1]; 7. (DNF) 4R-Scott Towslee[5]; 8. (DNS) 6S-Tyler Slay.

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 91T-Tyler Thomas[2]; 2. 45M-Brett Moffitt[1]; 3. 79S-Landon Simon[3]; 4. 9E-Chase Elliott[6]; 5. 42-Shawn Mahaffey[4]; 6. 10-Santino Ferrucci[5]; 7. (DNS) 44C-Blake Carrier; 8. (DNS) 98M-Ricky McNamar.

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 47W-Kevin Thomas Jr.[1]; 2. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[2]; 3. 4D-Robert Dalby[3]; 4. 81-Colten Cottle[6]; 5. 25K-Taylor Reimer[5]; 6. 34-KJ Snow[4]; 7. (DNS) 71J-Joe Weaver; 8. (DNS) 14C-Zack Morgan.

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[6]; 2. 57K-Daniel Robinson[4]; 3. 00S-Randy Sterling[5]; 4. 84J-Jesse Shapel[3]; 5. (DNF) 52C-Cody Karl[1]; 6. (DNF) 99K-Robert Carson[2]; 7. (DNF) 97A-Austin O’Dell[7].

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 25X-Alex Bright[5]; 2. 37-Max Adams[1]; 3. 44S-Kameron Key[6]; 4. 5O-Chase Howard[3]; 5. 12H-David Raquenio[7]; 6. 00C-Ryan Newman[2]; 7. 8W-Troy Rutherford[4].

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature

C-Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 7J-Shawn Jackson[3]; 2. 00C-Ryan Newman[4]; 3. 18L-Logan Scherb[1]; 4. 98C-Slater Helt[6]; 5. 7JW-Jarrad Warhurst[8]; 6. 34-KJ Snow[2]; 7. 50K-Kaeden Cornell[9]; 8. 14C-Zack Morgan[11]; 9. 4R-Scott Towslee[7]; 10. 6S-Tyler Slay[10].

C-Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 8K-Jake Neal[4]; 2. 10-Santino Ferrucci[1]; 3. 8W-Troy Rutherford[7]; 4. 77J-John Klabunde[6]; 5. 97A-Austin O’Dell[5]; 6. 17M-Kala Keliinoi[8]; 7. 44C-Blake Carrier[10]; 8. 35X-Tyler Robbins[2]; 9. (DNF) 99K-Robert Carson[3]; 10. (DNF) 1L-Cody Lampe[9]; 11. (DNS) 98M-Ricky McNamar.

Team Toyota Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[1]; 2. 97-Rico Abreu[6]; 3. 19A-Chase Randall[2]; 4. 44S-Kameron Key[4]; 5. 3W-Brandon Waelti[5]; 6. 91-Jeff Stasa[3]; 7. 9E-Chase Elliott[7]; 8. 25K-Taylor Reimer[10]; 9. 12H-David Raquenio[8]; 10. (DNF) 5O-Chase Howard[9].

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 27W-Colby Copeland[3]; 2. 25X-Alex Bright[6]; 3. 22X-Steven Shebester[1]; 4. 15A-Emerson Axsom[4]; 5. 91T-Tyler Thomas[5]; 6. 81-Colten Cottle[7]; 7. 75-Travis Berryhill[9]; 8. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[8]; 9. 70-Cade Cowles[10]; 10. 00S-Randy Sterling[2].

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 4A-Parker Price Miller[4]; 2. 57K-Daniel Robinson[5]; 3. 55X-Jake Swanson[6]; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell[3]; 5. 79S-Landon Simon[7]; 6. 42-Shawn Mahaffey[10]; 7. 45M-Brett Moffitt[1]; 8. 7R-AJ Hopkins[2]; 9. 00-Karter Sarff[9]; 10. 26R-Tristin Thomas[8].

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 4D-Robert Dalby[7]; 2. 1R-Brad Sweet[3]; 3. 3N-Jake Neuman[6]; 4. 47W-Kevin Thomas Jr.[4]; 5. 71X-Brian Carber[9]; 6. 45J-Shon Deskins[2]; 7. 37-Max Adams[1]; 8. 14F-Cameron Hagin[5]; 9. 52C-Cody Karl[10]; 10. 84J-Jesse Shapel[8].

Dave.com B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature

B-Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell[1]; 2. 71X-Brian Carber[2]; 3. 37-Max Adams[7]; 4. 91-Jeff Stasa[3]; 5. 14F-Cameron Hagin[5]; 6. 26R-Tristin Thomas[12]; 7. 42-Shawn Mahaffey[4]; 8. 75-Travis Berryhill[6]; 9. 25K-Taylor Reimer[8]; 10. 00C-Ryan Newman[14]; 11. 18L-Logan Scherb[13]; 12. 98C-Slater Helt[15]; 13. 12H-David Raquenio[9]; 14. (DNF) 7J-Shawn Jackson[11]; 15. (DNF) 00-Karter Sarff[10]; 16. (DNS) 52C-Cody Karl.

B-Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 22X-Steven Shebester[1]; 2. 7R-AJ Hopkins[7]; 3. 81-Colten Cottle[3]; 4. 45M-Brett Moffitt[6]; 5. 45J-Shon Deskins[4]; 6. 79S-Landon Simon[2]; 7. 8K-Jake Neal[13]; 8. 9E-Chase Elliott[5]; 9. 2ND-Jeb Sessums[8]; 10. 10-Santino Ferrucci[14]; 11. 8W-Troy Rutherford[15]; 12. 77J-John Klabunde[16]; 13. 84J-Jesse Shapel[12]; 14. 00S-Randy Sterling[9]; 15. (DNF) 5O-Chase Howard[11]; 16. (DNF) 70-Cade Cowles[10].

A-Feature: Top 2 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature

A-Feature (30 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[1]; 2. 25X-Alex Bright[2]; 3. 1R-Brad Sweet[9]; 4. 3N-Jake Neuman[7]; 5. 27W-Colby Copeland[8]; 6. 47W-Kevin Thomas Jr[14]; 7. 55X-Jake Swanson[5]; 8. 57K-Daniel Robinson[6]; 9. 4A-Parker Price-Miller[4]; 10. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[10]; 11. 1-Sammy Swindell[17]; 12. 71X-Brian Carber[19]; 13. 3W-Brandon Waelti[15]; 14. 15A-Emerson Axsom[13]; 15. 91T-Tyler Thomas[16]; 16. 81-Colten Cottle[22]; 17. 22X-Steven Shebester[18]; 18. 45M-Brett Moffitt[24]; 19. 37-Max Adams[21]; 20. 91-Jeff Stasa[23]; 21. (DNF) 4D-Robert Dalby[3]; 22. (DNF) 19A-Chase Randall[11]; 23. (DNF) 44S-Kameron Key[12]; 24. (DNF) 7R-AJ Hopkins[20].

Lap Leader(s): Rico Abreu, 1-30; Hard Charger: Kevin Thomas, Jr., plus-8


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, January 14 2021
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