Abreu Wins the Ironman 50

Rico Abreu in victory lane following his victory with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk Photo)
Rico Abreu with his team in victory lane following his victory with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk Photo)
Rico Abreu with his team in victory lane following his victory with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at the Ironman 55 at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk Photo)

From Aaron Fielder

PEVELY, Mo. (August 6, 2016) — Rico Abreu proved to be the strongest man Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 as he powered forward and battled to the lead scoring his first World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series victory of the season and the Federated Auto Parts Ironman 55 presented by Walker.

Abreu, a NASCAR Truck Series regular, slipped back to fifth early but battled back into the top three after a lap 26 restart. He worked his way around the No. 9 of Daryn Pittman then set his sights on the No. 49 of Brad Sweet. Sweet bobbled coming off of turn four and Abreu raced past him onto the front straight.

Through traffic, the then leader Kerry Madsen lost ground to Abreu and Sweet. On lap 38 Abreu threw a slider on Madsen through turns three and four, but Madsen held. What commenced though was a two-lap, three-way battle for the lead. Abreu eventually got around and through restarts, traffic and a brush with the wall on the final lap, Abreu cruised to the Ironman 55 win.

“It’s really important. These big ones is what it comes down to. All that hard work all year that these guys have done,” Abreu said. “I raced my ass off. It’s fun, it all pays off.”

Abreu is the 16th different winner of the season and the sixth different driver to score the Ironman 55 title. Since 2009, Craig Dollansky is the only driver to repeat.

Sweet kicked off the night with his second straight quick time award in qualifying. His 11th quick time made him the season’s leading qualifier, surpassing Joey Saldana who held the distinction through much of the year.

Madsen, the 2014 Ironman 55 winner, started on the feature pole with with 2015’s Ironman winner, Shane Stewart, on his outside.
When the green flag fell, Sweet, who started fourth, battled forward, taking over third on the initial start and then racing Stewart, side-by-side on lap 10 for second. Two laps later, as Madsen worked his way through traffic, Sweet closed the gap on the leader and began challenging him for the lead.

A caution flew and on the restart Madsen pulled away, this time maintaining his top spot through the traffic. When the next caution flag fell on lap 26, Madsen had lapped up to 16th position.
Abreu, who had been sitting in fourth through much of the feature, got his chance on the restart, as he took over third from Pittman and then took advantage of Sweet’s mistake on the exit of four to take over second.

On lap 39, again slowed by traffic, Abreu caught Madsen and slid him through turns three and four. It was not enough that lap, but setup a three-way battle for position with Sweet mixing it up, nearly side-by-side-by-side across the line on lap 40. Abreu displayed masterful maneuvering across the track as he took over the lead and, in spite of the strong challenge from Madsen and near disaster at the end, crossed the finish line in first.

To chants of, “Rico, Rico, Rico,” from a packed Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, Abreu hoisted the coveted dumbbell trophy and claimed the $20,000 prize.

“We started off pretty tight in the beginning of the race. The tighter our car is, it tends to bog our engine which makes it confusing to know what to do,” Abreu said. “I was just trying to maintain my tires underneath me. When I got to those guys I made sure I didn’t race them too hard. You can get in an intense battle and heat your tires up and end up running fifth or sixth. I just made sure I hit my marks. The restarts were really important tonight.”

Abreu ended the two-year run of Kings Royal winners also taking the Ironman victory. The win is his fourth career series win.

Madsen, who looked to become just the second repeat winner of the Ironman 55, led the first 40 laps of the grueling 55-lap feature. In the end though, Abreu had the edge.

“The guys gave me a fantastic racecar. Just got into traffic there and I just – guy had been running the top and I thought I had him and then he chopped the front and Rico was there to take advantage. This race is always one of our favorites of the year – the fan interaction is fantastic.”

Stewart battled past Sweet through the closing laps and took home the final spot on the night’s podium. He said the podium finish was needed for his Larson Marks crew as their performance has not been where they want it to be.

“We’ve been on struggle street really badly lately,” Stewart said. “It was a really great race. Normally you try to pace yourself a little but there was no pacing. This is a great event, it’s a special race to win. Hats off to Rico, he does a great job.”

“Hopefully we can carry this momentum, not only into Knoxville, but into the rest of the season.”

Joey Saldana was the KSE Racing Hard Charger, advancing nine positions to finish fifth.

The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series rolls into the biggest week of the season as the series takes on the 5-Hour ENERGY Knoxville Nationals presented by Casey’s General Store at Knoxville Raceway, Wednesday, Aug. 10 to Saturday, Aug. 13. To learn more about the Knoxville Nationals, visit WoOSprint.com/Knoxville-Nationals.

Follow the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series on Twitter at Twitter.com/WorldofOutlaws, like it on Facebook at Facebook.com/WorldofOutlaws, or check out the latest videos on YouTube at YouTube.com/WorldofOutlaws.

World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series
Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55
Pevely, MO
Saturday August 6, 2016

A-Main – (55 Laps) – 1. 24-Rico Abreu [3] [$20,000]; 2. 29-Kerry Madsen [1] [$6,000]; 3. 2-Shane Stewart [2] [$3,750]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [4] [$3,250]; 5. 83-Joey Saldana [14] [$2,750]; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman [6] [$2,500]; 7. 41-Jason Johnson [9] [$2,400]; 8. 7-Paul McMahan [8] [$2,300]; 9. 15-Donny Schatz [17] [$2,200]; 10. 5-David Gravel [10] [$2,100]; 11. 3H-James McFadden [12] [$1,700]; 12. 1S-Logan Schuchart [21] [$1,400]; 13. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [5] [$1,300]; 14. 1A-Jacob Allen [7] [$1,200]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides [19] [$1,100]; 16. W20-Greg Wilson [22] [$1,000]; 17. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [15] [$1,000]; 18. 42-Andy McElhannon [23] [$1,000]; 19. O5-Brad Loyet [11] [$1,000]; 20. 19M-Brent Marks [16] [$1,000]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [13] [$1,000]; 22. 84-Brandon Hanks [24] [$1,000]; 23. 20N-Hunter Schuerenberg [20] [$1,000]; 24. 5D-Zach Daum [18] [$1,000]. Lap Leaders: Kerry Madsen 1-40, Rico Abreu 41-55. KSE Hard Charger Award: 83-Joey Saldana [+9]

Qualifying – 1. 49-Brad Sweet, 12.023; 2. 83-Joey Saldana, 12.152; 3. 24-Rico Abreu, 12.177; 4. 2X-Parker Price-Miller, 12.259; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen, 12.311; 6. 2-Shane Stewart, 12.325; 7. 7-Paul McMahan, 12.345; 8. 9-Daryn Pittman, 12.355; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 12.411; 10. 1A-Jacob Allen, 12.419; 11. O5-Brad Loyet, 12.499; 12. 19M-Brent Marks, 12.521; 13. 41-Jason Johnson, 12.534; 14. 5-David Gravel, 12.575; 15. 7S-Jason Sides, 12.637; 16. 3H-James McFadden, 12.691; 17. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 12.697; 18. 5D-Zach Daum, 12.738; 19. 65-Jordon Goldesberry, 12.781; 20. 51B-Joe B Miller, 12.860; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 12.871; 22. 42-Andy McElhannon, 12.962; 23. W20-Greg Wilson, 13.002; 24. 84-Brandon Hanks, 13.060; 25. 13-Clyde Knipp, 13.084; 26. 1M-Jim Moughan, 13.193; 27. 79J-Jacob Patton, 13.256; 28. 20N-Hunter Schuerenberg, 13.394; 29. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman, 13.611; 30. 28AM-Brian Paulus, 13.667; 31. 28-Jonathan Cornell, 14.146; 32. 10P-Jim Perricone, 14.213; 33. 44-A.J. Bruns, 20.091

Heat 1 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [2]; 2. 49-Brad Sweet [1]; 3. 41-Jason Johnson [4]; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [3]; 6. 1S-Logan Schuchart [5]; 7. 13-Clyde Knipp [7]; 8. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman [8]; 9. 44-A.J. Bruns [9]

Heat 2 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 2-Shane Stewart [2]; 2. 1A-Jacob Allen [3]; 3. 5-David Gravel [4]; 4. 83-Joey Saldana [1]; 5. 5D-Zach Daum [5]; 6. 42-Andy McElhannon [6]; 7. 1M-Jim Moughan [7]; 8. 28AM-Brian Paulus [8]

Heat 3 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 24-Rico Abreu [1]; 2. 7-Paul McMahan [2]; 3. O5-Brad Loyet [3]; 4. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [5]; 5. 7S-Jason Sides [4]; 6. W20-Greg Wilson [6]; 7. 28-Jonathan Cornell [8]; 8. 79J-Jacob Patton [7]

Heat 4 – (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [1]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [2]; 3. 3H-James McFadden [4]; 4. 19M-Brent Marks [3]; 5. 20N-Hunter Schuerenberg [7]; 6. 84-Brandon Hanks [6]; 7. 10P-Jim Perricone [8]; 8. 51B-Joe B Miller [5]

Dash – (8 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of A-feature) – 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [1]; 2. 2-Shane Stewart [2]; 3. 24-Rico Abreu [3]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [5]; 5. 2X-Parker Price-Miller [4]; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman [8]; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen [6]; 8. 7-Paul McMahan [7]

Last Chance Showdown – (12 Laps – Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature) – 1. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1] [-]; 2. W20-Greg Wilson [4] [-]; 3. 42-Andy McElhannon [3] [-]; 4. 84-Brandon Hanks [5] [-]; 5. 28-Jonathan Cornell [11] [$300]; 6. 13-Clyde Knipp [6] [$250]; 7. 44-A.J. Bruns [13] [$225]; 8. 28AM-Brian Paulus [10] [$200]; 9. 79J-Jacob Patton [8] [$200]; 10. 1M-Jim Moughan [7] [$200]; 11. 10P-Jim Perricone [12] [$200]; 12. 51B-Joe B Miller [2] [$200]; 13. 14T-Jimmy Bridgeman [9] [$200]