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Rico Abreu Wins a Wild Gold Cup Race of Champions Finale

By Gary Thomas
CHICO, Calif. – Sept. 10, 2016 – For the sixth time in seven years the Gold Cup Race of Champions trophy is staying in the Golden State after Rutherford, California’s Rico Abreu dominated much of the feature on Saturday, before holding off a late charge from Daryn Pittman to score his first career win in the 63rd running of the prestigious event.
A wild and intense 40-lap Gold Cup finale was presented to fans on Saturday night in Chico. The victory marked Abreu’s fifth career World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series triumph aboard the Abreu Vineyards No. 24 machine. It was his second win of the season to go along with his victory at the Ironman 55 in Pevely during the month of August.
“This is pretty awesome and a special feeling to win the Gold Cup,” Abreu commented with a big smile after the race. “Hats off to my guys for all their hard work and for giving me a great car tonight. The track changed a lot over the course of the race and the cautions definitely fell our way. Daryn [Pittman] was fast and gave me a good run there at the end. Moving up top on those later restarts helped us win this race. I’m glad to be back home racing in California and excited we could park it tonight in Chico.”
The main event started out with pole sitter and dash winner Paul McMahan of Nashville, Tennessee jumping into the lead of the race. Abreu showed his muscle early on however, by moving into second on lap-two and then claimed the top-spot on a lap five restart. Pittman battled his way forward at the same time to overtake McMahan for the runner up position on lap 12, before setting his sights on the leader. The track had widened out nicely for the main event and featured multi-groove racing throughout the field.
Pittman would challenge Abreu for the lead on lap 17, prior to a caution waving, which took the leaders out of traffic.
A number of stoppages plagued the flow of the feature, but through it all Abreu kept his composure out front. Towards the end of the race Pittman did find new life though and made a few bids at the lead, only to have the yellow flag wave on three separate occasions. Abreu wisely moved up to run the high-line on the final two restarts, giving him the chance to pull out to a large enough lead, ultimately coming out on top by just under half a second for the victory.
Dating back to 2010, he becomes the fourth different driver from California to win the Gold Cup Race of Champions.
Pittman crossed the stripe in second to cap a solid night for the Kasey Kahne Racing No. 9 team. The 2006 Gold Cup winner came close to adding a second victory at the event. The finish also moved him to third in the World of Outlaws standings and he now sits just three-points out of second.
“We kept making gains on those restarts, but the cautions just didn’t fall my way tonight. Rico [Abreu] did a great job on the restarts though throughout the race so I have to congratulate him on the win. My guys gave me a great car tonight ,and I gave it my all in the feature, but just came up a little short. We’ve been working hard all year, and I’m just trying to keep up with these kids out here. Huge thanks to everyone with KKR for allowing me to drive this car.”
Auburn, California’s Andy Forsberg had a tremendous run in the main event to round out the podium at the helm of the A&A Stepping Stone No. 92 mount. The former Silver Dollar Speedway track champ pressured Pittman at one point for second, before claiming third at the finish. It marked his second career podium result at the Gold Cup.
“This is almost unreal to be up here on the podium again at the Gold Cup Race of Champions,” Forsberg said. “To do this with the World of Outlaws is a big deal. I can’t thank my car owners enough for letting me come out and have fun with these guys. Thanks also to the fans that came out and supported this event.”
Bixby, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart earned the KSE Hard Charger Award with a fine run from 16th to fourth in the feature, while Washington driver Austen Wheatley recorded his best career World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series finish in fifth. The top-10 was rounded out by Watertown, Connecticut’s David Gravel; Wooster, Ohio’s Jac Haudenschild; St. Mary’s NSW, Australia’s Kerry Madsen; Hanover, Pennsylvania’s Logan Schuchart and Hanford, California’s DJ Netto.
The most serious incident during the feature occurred on lap 35 when McMahan got upside down in turn one after contact from another competitor. He emerged from the car alert, but complaining of neck pain. McMahan was then transported to a local hospital for evaluation.
Paradise, California’s Kyle Hirst won the night’s Last chance Showdown, with British Columbia driver Robbie Price bringing home the win in the C-main. Four 10-lap heat races were held during the night and claimed by Rico Abreu, Brad Sweet, Paul McMahan and Austen Wheatley. Sweet’s night would come to a premature end when he lost a motor while battling in the top-five during the feature. Abreu started out the night by setting fast time with a blistering lap of 11.150 around the quarter-mile.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series will return to action this coming Wednesday night at the El Paso County Raceway in Calhan, Colorado.
Silver Dollar Speedway Notebook – Gold Cup Race of Champions, Night Two
RACE NOTES:  California native Rico Abreu added his name to the list of Gold Cup Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway Saturday night after a long, collision-filled race. Daryn Pittman, all over Abreu for much of the 40-lap feature, finished second, bringing him back up to third in points standings. Local driver Andy Forsberg finished third.
CONTINGENCY WINNERS: MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Bud Kaeding; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Daryn Pittman; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Donny Schatz; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Logan Schuchart; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Logan Schuchart; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Logan Schuchart; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Morton Buildings ($50 cash): Joey Saldana; Cometic Gasket ($50 cash): Kalib Henry; Super Flow ($50 cash): Jason Sides, Justyn Cox; Craftsman Club Fast Five ($100 cash): Paul McMahan, Daryn Pittman, Brad Sweet, Jacob Allen; Craftsman/Sears: Austen Wheatley; KSE Hard Charger: Shane Stewart; Comp Cams ($50 product certificate): Daryn Pittman; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Paul McMahan; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Brad Sweet.
SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz – 21 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 4, Stockton Dirt Track on March 18, Stockton Dirt Track on March 19, Silver Dollar Speedway on April 2, Lincoln Speedway on May 19, Weedsport Speedway on May 22, Lincoln Park Speedway on June 8, Knoxville Raceway on June 11, River Cities Speedway on June 17, Rockford Speedway on June 29, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 3, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9, Attica Raceway Park on July 12, Eldora Speedway on July 16, Ohsweken Speedway on July 26, Junction Motor Speedway on August 16, Angell Park Speedway on August 21, River Cities Speedway on August 26, Nodak Speedway on August 28, Willamette Speedway on September 7); David Gravel – 9 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 12, Tri-State Speedway on May 14, I-96 Speedway on June 6, Eldora Speedway on July 14, Lernerville Speedway on July 19, Wilmot Raceway on July 30, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 5, Skagit Speedway on Sept 2 and 3); Daryn Pittman – 7 (Royal Purple Raceway on Feb. 27, Perris Auto Speedway on April 16, USA Raceway on April 18, New Egypt Speedway on May 24, Jackson Motorplex on June 24, Eldora Speedway on July 15, Williams Grove Speedway on July 22); Brad Sweet – 7 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Cotton Bowl Speedway on Feb. 26, Ocean Speedway on April 1, Bakersfield Speedway on April 15, Plymouth Speedway on May 13, Badlands Motor Speedway on July 2); Shane Stewart – 6 (Arizona Speedway on March 6, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 23, Lawrenceburg Speedway on May 30, Granite City Speedway on June 15, Brown County Speedway on June 19, Silver Dollar Speedway on September 9); Joey Saldana – 4 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas on March 3, Devil’s Bowl Speedway on April 22, Jacksonville Speedway on May 4, I-80 Speedway on June 22); Lance Dewease – 2 (Williams Grove Speedway on May 20, Williams Grove Speedway on July 23); Kerry Madsen – 2 (Eldora Speedway on May 6 and 7); Rico Abreu – 2 (Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 6, Silver Dollar Speedway on September 10); Bill Balog – 1 (Beaver Dam Raceway on June 25); Chad Kemenah – 1 (Fremont Speedway on June 3); Jason Johnson – 2 (Placerville Speedway on March 24, Knoxville Nationals on August 13);Terry McCarl – 1 (Knoxville Raceway on June 10); Logan Schuchart – 1 (Cedar Lake Speedway on July 9); Jason Sides – 1 (I-30 Speedway on April 26); Greg Wilson – 1 (The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 27).
World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Silver Dollar Speedway, Calif.; Sept 10, 2016
Feature – (40 Laps) – 1. 24-Rico Abreu [4] [$12,000]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [3] [$5,700]; 3. 92-Andy Forsberg [6] [$3,500]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [16] [$3,000]; 5. 44W-Austen Wheatley [2] [$2,600]; 6. 5-David Gravel [10] [$2,400]; 7. 57-Jac Haudenschild [9] [$2,300]; 8. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [15] [$2,200]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [11] [$2,150]; 10. 3C-DJ Netto [20] [$2,100]; 11. 83-Joey Saldana [19] [$1,600]; 12. M21-Kalib Henry [22] [$1,350]; 13. 29-Willie Croft [7] [$1,300]; 14. 31BC-Justyn Cox [12] [$1,200]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides [13] [$1,100]; 16. OO-Cory Eliason [24] [$1,000]; 17. 77-Kyle Hirst [21] [$900]; 18. 15-Donny Schatz [17] [$850]; 19. 7-Paul McMahan [1] [$800]; 20. 49-Brad Sweet [5] [$800]; 21. 41-Jason Johnson [14] [$800]; 22. OOX-Jason Statler [18] [$800]; 23. 1A-Jacob Allen [8] [$800]; 24. O-Bud Kaeding [23] [$800]; Lap Leaders: Paul McMahan 1-5, Rico Abreu 6-40; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Shane Stewart [+12]
Qualifying – 1. 24-Rico Abreu, 11.150; 2. 49-Brad Sweet, 11.393; 3. 77-Kyle Hirst, 11.467; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman, 11.477; 5. 1A-Jacob Allen, 11.486; 6. 92-Andy Forsberg, 11.487; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 11.495; 8. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 11.504; 9. 57-Jac Haudenschild, 11.578; 10. 5-David Gravel, 11.579; 11. 7-Paul McMahan, 11.635; 12. 3C-DJ Netto, 11.648; 13. M21-Kalib Henry, 11.676; 14. OO-Cory Eliason, 11.683; 15. 83JR-Kerry Madsen, 11.688; 16. O-Bud Kaeding, 11.689; 17. 7S-Jason Sides, 11.729; 18. 41-Jason Johnson, 11.741; 19. 29-Willie Croft, 11.749; 20. 2-Shane Stewart, 11.780; 21. 15-Donny Schatz, 11.822; 22. 13-Clyde Knipp, 11.842; 23. 83-Joey Saldana, 11.853; 24. 31BC-Justyn Cox, 11.880; 25. 41X-Dominic Scelzi, 11.893; 26. 11AU-Toby Bell Bowen, 11.952; 27. 12C-Brian Mcgahan, 11.998; 28. 75-Sean Becker, 12.001; 29. 22-Shane Golobic, 12.016; 30. OOX-Jason Statler, 12.025; 31. 19-Chase Majdic, 12.034; 32. 21-Robbie Price, 12.140; 33. 12-Jarrett Soares, 12.152; 34. W20-Greg Wilson, 12.188; 35. 1H-Billy Wallace, 12.348; 36. 98-Sean Watts, 12.569; 37. 22A-Cori Andrews, 13.444
Heat 1 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 24-Rico Abreu [1]; 2. 1A-Jacob Allen [2]; 3. 57-Jac Haudenschild [3]; 4. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [6]; 6. M21-Kalib Henry [4]; 7. 22-Shane Golobic [8]; 8. 12-Jarrett Soares [9]; 9. 22A-Cori Andrews [10]; 10. 41X-Dominic Scelzi [7]
Heat 2 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 49-Brad Sweet [1]; 2. 92-Andy Forsberg [2]; 3. 5-David Gravel [3]; 4. 41-Jason Johnson [5]; 5. OOX-Jason Statler [8]; 6. 13-Clyde Knipp [6]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [9]; 8. OO-Cory Eliason [4]; 9. 11AU-Toby Bell Bowen [7]
Heat 3 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 7-Paul McMahan [3]; 2. 29-Willie Croft [5]; 3. 1S-Logan Schuchart [2]; 4. 83JR-Kerry Madsen [4]; 5. 83-Joey Saldana [6]; 6. 77-Kyle Hirst [1]; 7. 19-Chase Majdic [8]; 8. 1H-Billy Wallace [9]; 9. 12C-Brian Mcgahan [7]
Heat 4 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 44W-Austen Wheatley [2]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [1]; 3. 31BC-Justyn Cox [6]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [5]; 5. 3C-DJ Netto [3]; 6. 21-Robbie Price [8]; 7. 75-Sean Becker [7]; 8. O-Bud Kaeding [4]; 9. 98-Sean Watts [9]
Craftsman Club Dash – (8 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 7-Paul McMahan [2]; 2. 44W-Austen Wheatley [1]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman [8]; 4. 24-Rico Abreu [4]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [3]; 6. 92-Andy Forsberg [6]; 7. 29-Willie Croft [7]; 8. 1A-Jacob Allen [5]
C-Main – (10 Laps – Top 2 finishers transfer to the Last Chance Showdown) – 1. 21-Robbie Price [1] [-]; 2. 12-Jarrett Soares [2] [-]; 3. W20-Greg Wilson [3] [$150]; 4. 1H-Billy Wallace [4] [$150]; 5. 22A-Cori Andrews [6] [$150]; 6. 98-Sean Watts [5] [$125]; 7. 41X-Dominic Scelzi [7] [$125]
Last Chance Showdown – (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 77-Kyle Hirst [1] [-]; 2. M21-Kalib Henry [2] [-]; 3. O-Bud Kaeding [4] [-]; 4. OO-Cory Eliason [3] [-]; 5. 22-Shane Golobic [9] [$300]; 6. 13-Clyde Knipp [5] [$250]; 7. 75-Sean Becker [8] [$225]; 8. 21-Robbie Price [11] [$200]; 9. 19-Chase Majdic [10] [$200]; 10. 12C-Brian Mcgahan [7] [$200]; 11. 11AU-Toby Bell Bowen [6] [$200]; 12. 12-Jarrett Soares [12] [$200]
Unofficial World of Outlaws Craftsman® Sprint Car Series Championship Standings
Pos.
Car
Driver
Total
Diff
Wins
Top 5’s
Top 10’s
QT
1
15
Donny Schatz
9447
0
21
50
64
5
2
5
David Gravel
9199
-248
9
39
57
5
3
9
Daryn Pittman
9196
-251
7
39
55
6
4
49
Brad Sweet
9178
-269
7
38
53
12
5
83
Joey Saldana
9042
-405
4
27
51
10
6
2
Shane Stewart
8994
-453
6
31
56
4
7
41
Jason Johnson
8522
-925
2
15
39
2
8
1S
Logan Schuchart
8398
-1049
1
12
30
2
9
7s
Jason Sides
8226
-1221
1
4
23
2
10
7
Paul McMahan
8072
-1375
0
1
18
0
11
W20
Greg Wilson
7638
-1809
1
4
11
0
12
1A
Jacob Allen
7398
-2049
0
2
10
0
13
29
Kerry Madsen
5639
-3808
2
12
26
2
14
13
Clyde Knipp
4768
-4679
0
0
0
0
15
41
Dominic Scelzi
3076
-6371
0
1
5
0
16
24
Terry McCarl
3006
-6441
1
1
4
0
17
1
Sammy Swindell
2947
-6500
0
2
5
1
18
11k
Kraig Kinser
2770
-6677
0
3
7
0
19
24
Rico Abreu
2469
-6978
2
8
12
3
20
17W
Bryan Clauson
2456
-6991
0
1
6
0

Rico Abreu. (Bill Miller Photo)

Rico Abreu. (Bill Miller Photo)