TULSA, Okla. - After 15 and a half weeks out of a racecar following a hard crash at the Four Crown Nationals, California’s Rico Abreu was the class of the field in Wednesday’s action for the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals at Oklahoma’s Tulsa Expo Raceway.
Securing a spot in his sixth career Chili Bowl Nationals championship A-Feature with his third career prelim triumph, Abreu’s win came after nearly 20 laps of challenges from Oklahoma’s Tyler Thomas.
“I don’t think it gets any better or intense than that, especially because you are racing for the lead,” said Abreu. “On these slide jobs, people come up short and run into each other and that’s when you see wrecks, but I feel like it goes both ways in these situations where if you’re the leader getting slid, you let out of the gas and let them slide across, then turn down and drive right back by him. That’s the way it was done tonight.”
After chasing Thomas through the first four laps, the race for the point went three-wide on the fifth lap, with Alabama’s Kevin Thomas, Jr. taking the lead. Unable to hold off Tyler Thomas the following lap, the caution would fall as the field worked lap seven due to an incident involving Parker Price-Miller.
Back under green, Abreu moved to second and began challenging for the lead. He would move around Thomas to take the lead on lap 10.
Tyler Thomas would challenge again two laps later, and exchanged lines before the caution again came out. Protecting the low line from the slide, the top was clear for Abreu to build his run. With a full head of steam, Abreu snagged the lead away again on lap 15. The caution flew again with 19 laps complete.
Each lap, Abreu was able to make it to the flag stand with the lead. The final caution with two to go was still not enough to deny the California shoe a much-awaited return to Victory Lane.
Tyler Thomas held on to finish in second, with Kevin Thomas, Jr. in third. The top three finishers locked themselves into Saturday night’s Chili Bowl Nationals A-Feature.
Sammy Swindell finished in fourth, with Chris Windom in fifth.
Ryan Robinson, Jason McDougal, J.J. Yeley, Gary Taylor and Jeb Sessums rounded out the top ten.
The 32nd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals continues on Thursday night. For more information, visit ChiliBowl.com.
Chili Bowl Nationals
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, OK
A-Feature Results – Jan. 10, 2018
1. 97-Rico Abreu
2. 91T-Tyler Thomas
3. 27K-Kevin Thomas, Jr.
4. 1-Sammy Swindell
5. 35TE-Chris Windom
6. 71-Ryan Robinson
7. 73X-Jason McDougal
8. 2R-J.J. Yeley
9. 05T-Gary Taylor
10. 2ND-Jeb Sessums
11. 14H-Harley Hollan
12. 71T-Zac Taylor
13. 76M-Brady Bacon
14. 3F-Austin Liggett
15. 5RJ-Colby Copeland
16. 3S-Brian Shirley
17. 5S-Chase Stockon
18. 68W-Jake Swanson
19. 75-Bryan Stanfill
20. (DNF) 22Q-David Prickett
21. (DNF) 77S-Alex DeCamp
22. (DNF) 69F-Ryan Smith
23. (DNF) 15-Donny Schatz
24. (DNF) 9P-Parker Price-Miller