By Bryan Hulbert
SOMERTON, Ariz. (February 28, 2014) – With lightning dancing across the desert floor and the smell of rain thick in the air, Rico Abreu stood atop the podium for the first time with Lucas Oil ASCS presented by MAVTV American Real, picking up the 2014 season opener at the Cocopah Speedway in only his second career A-Feature start with the national arm of the American Sprint Car Series.
“This is incredible,” said Abreu about his $3,000 payday.
Leading from the drop of the green, the Rutherford, Cali. driver set the pace until Lap 18. Surrendering the lead in traffic, fifth starting Roger Crockett found the rubber and a clear groove, assuming the point and pulling away but would ultimately end up third. Working to the white flag, Abreu followed Roger Crockett across the stripe. Sliding off the bottom groove entering turn one for the final time, Crockett sat helpless with the car sliding across the racing surface.
With tires spinning through the second turn, Abreu raced by the Rocket Designs No. 11 with Crockett appearing to have more problems as the checkered flag fell; surrendering second to Christopher Bell at the line.
“I though he missed it. The bottom was really clean around one-and-two, and I thought he just missed it, but he thought the race was over,” said Abreu. “They throw that crossed flag before they throw the white. I just watched him. I didn’t know what was going on and snuck by him on the back stretch and made sure I hit my marks at the end.”
Asked if he knew Bell was closing in to challenge before the races lone caution on Lap 5 Abreu replied, “I knew he was going to be up top so I took the top there after the caution and just tried to keep my car as straight as I could. It was a really slick track; hard to keep your tires underneath you, but the farther I got my wing back the better I was.”
The series 137th winner, Abreu crossed 1.197 seconds ahead of Christopher Bell.
“We had a really good racecar tonight,” said Bell who graced the controls of the Brandon Berryman owned No. 31B.
“There before the yellow, I was kinda reeling Rico in and when I saw Paul Silva in the track opening down there in turn three saying go to the top, then Rico got real good at the top of one and two and it was just so slow to have to run the bottom.”
Following the race, it was discovered that Bell was able to finish despite the right-front torsion bar and arm missing from the Baytown Ford No. 31B.
Even with everything happening on the final lap, Crockett still finds himself locked into Saturday’s $10,000 to win event with a third place showing.
Passing for fourth on Lap 8 after starting tenth, Brian Brown nearly missed the final transfer into Saturday’s A-Feature.
Working by the Casey’s General Store / FVP No. 21 with four laps to run, Brad Loyet worked to keep Brown at bay in the closing laps. Going side-by-side off the final turn, the pair crossed under the checkered flag wheel-to-wheel with Brown crossing 0.016 seconds to the good over Loyet.
Loyet complete the top five with Johnny Herrera slipping back to sixth. Jason Johnson started eighth and worked as high as fifth before crossing seventh with Logan Forler eighth. Indiana’s Bryan Clauson crossed ninth in his third Lucas Oil ASCS A-Feature for his second top ten. Wayne Johnson slipped from seventh to complete the top ten.
SpeedMart Heat Races were won by Jason Johnson, Christopher Bell, Rico Abreu, Wayne Johnson, and Brad Loyet. Smiley’s Racing Products B-Features saw Tony Bruce, Jr. and Aaron Reutzel taking the top spots.
The second night of the 2014 Lucas Oil ASCS Season Opener at the Cocopah Speedway takes place on Saturday, March 1 with races beginning at 7:00 P.M. (MT). For news, updates, and information log onto http://www.ascsracing.com.
Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presetned by MAVTV American Real
Cocopah Cup Challenge II – Round 1
Cocopah Speedway – Somerton, Ariz.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Car Count: 39
Heat Races presented by SpeedMart – 8 Laps, top 16 in passing points to A-Feature, Top 8 redraw.
Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 41-Jason Johnson; 2. 82-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 3. 9-Ryan Linder; 4. 94-Jeff Swindell; 5. 11W-Joe Wood Jr; 6. 41W-Joshua Williams; 7. 01-Kaylene Verville; 8. 94M-Nick Parker
Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 31B-Christopher Bell; 2. 2L-Logan Forler; 3. 95-Matt Covington; 4. 18-Tony Bruce Jr; 5. 3-Craig Stidham; 6. 90-Lance Norick; 7. 9P-Parker Price-Miller; 8. 33-Rick Eckert
Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 24-Rico Abreu; 2. 21-Brian Brown; 3. 11-Roger Crockett; 4. 0-Glenn Styres; 5. 33V-Henry VanDam; 6. 12-James Mosher; 7. (DNF) 23N-Travis Jacobson
Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 77X-Wayne Johnson; 2. 23-Seth Bergman; 3. 45X-Johnny Herrera; 4. 82C-Bryan Clauson; 5. 87-Aaron Reutzel; 6. 29-Brandon Hahn; 7. 8-Bob Ream Jr; 8. (DNF) 22-Mason Moore
Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 05-Brad Loyet; 2. 17-Blake Hahn; 3. 9R-Reece Goetz; 4. 20Z-Rick Ziehl; 5. 57X-James Aragon; 6. 8AZ-Jordan Stetson; 7. 4X-Shawn Petersen
Smiley’s Racing Products B-Features – Top 3 advance to the A-Feature.
B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 18-Tony Bruce Jr; 2. 94-Jeff Swindell; 3. 9R-Reece Goetz; 4. 3-Craig Stidham; 5. 17W-Cole Wood; 6. 41W-Joshua Williams; 7. 9P-Parker Price-Miller; 8. 12-James Mosher; 9. 01-Kaylene Verville; 10. 57X-James Aragon; 11. 33-Rick Eckert; DNS 22-Mason Moore
B Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel; 2. 95-Matt Covington; 3. 33V-Henry VanDam; 4. 8-Bob Ream Jr; 5. 29-Brandon Hahn; 6. 9-Ryan Linder; 7. 90-Lance Norick; 8. 4X-Shawn Petersen; 9. 94M-Nick Parker; 10. 8AZ-Jordan Stetson; DNS 23N-Travis Jacobson
Protect the Harvest A-Feature – Top 4 lock into Saturday’s A-Feature.
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 24-Rico Abreu; 2. 31B-Christopher Bell; 3. 11-Roger Crockett; 4. 21-Brian Brown; 5. 05-Brad Loyet; 6. 45X-Johnny Herrera; 7. 41-Jason Johnson; 8. 2L-Logan Forler; 9. 82C-Bryan Clauson; 10. 77X-Wayne Johnson; 11. 23-Seth Bergman; 12. 82-Sam Hafertepe Jr; 13. 94-Jeff Swindell; 14. 87-Aaron Reutzel; 15. 33V-Henry VanDam; 16. 9R-Reece Goetz; 17. 17-Blake Hahn; 18. 20Z-Rick Ziehl; 19. 0-Glenn Styres; 20. 41W-Joshua Williams; 21. 17W-Cole Wood; 22. (DNF) 11W-Joe Wood Jr; 23. (DNF) 18-Tony Bruce Jr; 24. (DNF) 95-Matt Covington
Lap Leader(s): Rico Abreu (1-17, 25), Roger Crockett (18-24)
KSE Hard Charger: Henry Van Dam +7
Hawk Performance Fastest Lap: Rico Abreu – 16.939 seconds
CSI Rebound: Matt Covington
Provisional(s): Cole Wood (P1), Joshua Williams (PP)
2014 A-Feature Winner(s): Rico Abreu-1
2014 Lucas Oil ASCS Driver Standings (Top 10): 1. Rico Abreu 150; 2. Christopher Bell 142; 3. Roger Crockett 135; 4. Brian Brown 130; 5. Brad Loyet 125; 6. Johnny Herrera 122; 7. Jason Johnson 119; 8. Logan Forler 116; 9. Bryan Clauson 113; 10. Wayne Johnson 110;
The 2014 season marks the twenty-third year of sanctioning Sprint Car racing for the American Sprint Car Series, which brings the best of Sprint Car racing to dozens of different tracks throughout the nation. Anchored by the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series, ASCS also consists of ten different Regions throughout the nation.
Lucas Oil Products is the title sponsor of the American Sprint Car Series. More information can be found on Lucas Oil Products at www.lucasoil.com. MAVTV is the presenting sponsor of the American Sprint Car Series. Log onto www.mavtv.com for information regarding availability and listings in your area.
Associate sponsors for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by MAVTV include: Hoosier Racing Tire and Brodix.
Team Lucas Sponsors for the American Sprint Car Series consist of Protect the Harvest, iON Camera, Smokey Mountain Moonshine, C&R Radiator, Hawk Performance Products, Geico, E3 Spark Plugs, and General Tire.
Product and Contingency Sponsorship provided by: K&N Filters, KSE Racing Products, SpeedMart, Competition Suspension, Engler Machine and Tool, FSR Radiator and Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, Driverwebsites.com, Weld Wheels, Saldana Racing Products, Maxwell Industries, Print Place, Simpson, The Joie of Seating, Wesmar Racing Engines, Hinchman Indy Racewear, Rod End Supply, Smiley’s Racing Products, Speedway Motors, and Hilborn Injection Systems.
Additional information regarding the American Sprint Car Series is available at www.ascsracing.com as well as Twitter (@LucasOilASCS) and Facebook. News and information can also be sent to you with the ASCS E-News by texting ASCS to 22828 with any mobile device.