Abreu Sweeps Cotton Classic Weekend

Rico Abreu. (Mark Funderburk Photo)

From Gary Thomas

HANFORD, Cal. (October 15, 2016) — Returning to the Golden State this past weekend, Rutherford’s Rico Abreu was able to complete a two-night sweep at the Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic, scoring his first King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series win of the season on Saturday night.

Abreu had made his first ever Sprint Car start at the Keller Auto Speedway in 2011 and on Friday night captured his first career victory at the track, before coming back on Saturday to put together another impressive performance aboard the Abreu Vineyards No. 24 mount. It marked his 10th career King of the West triumph, moving the 24-year-old into a tie with Tommy Tarlton & Sean Becker on the all-time series win list.

“It feels great to come back home and sweep the Cotton Classic here in Hanford,” Abreu commented after the race. “It was a lot of fun early in the main event racing with the guys up front. I really want to thank Paul Silva, Trevor Canales and the entire 24 team for giving me such a great car every time we hit the track. Thanks also to everyone with the King of the West Series and Keller Auto Speedway for putting on the event. We’ll be back on November 5 in Stockton running the 410 & 360 so hopefully all the fans will come out and see us.”

The 30-lap Cotton Classic feature started out with San Jose’s Tim Kaeding grabbing the lead after winning the night’s dash. The two-time King of the West champion held command until Hanford’s DJ Netto scooped up the top-spot on lap six. The 20-year-old wheel-man was in search of his first series victory of the season and looked very strong, until making one minor miscue in turn two, which allowed Abreu the opportunity to get by with 14-laps complete. Netto tried to keep Abreu in his sights, but would settle for a runner up finish at the checkered.

The second place effort continued the strong string of constancy that Netto has put together since taking over driving duties of the Tri-C Manufacturing No. 3c machine. Dating back to August 27 he has now earned five consecutive top-five finishes with the King of the West Sprint Car Series.

“I definitely wanted to win this race in front of my hometown crowd, but it was still another great night for us to end up on the podium again,” Netto said. “I can’t thank Lee Lindgren, Shane Hopkins & the whole Tri-C team enough. Big thanks to my owners Clyde & Marion Lamar for the chance to drive this car. We have a lot of momentum going into the Trophy Cup next week in Tulare so I can’t wait for Thursday to roll around.”

Fresno’s Cory Eliason won out in a late-race battle with Tim Kaeding for the third spot, getting by on the final lap to round out the podium in the Reitz Almond Harvesting 00jr Sprint Car. It marked his second straight podium finish in King of the West Sprint Car Series competition.

“I’m happy to bring home a third place finish after starting from the fifth row tonight,” Eliason said. “We had a good battle with TK later on in the feature and luckily I was able to make the pass on the last lap. It’s been a really strong year overall and I want to thank everyone that supports us. We’ll now go on to the Trophy Cup and hopefully have a solid weekend. There’s lots of money on the line and we’ll give it our best shot.”

Tim Kaeding ended up fourth in the Roth Motorsports No. 83, with Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox rounding out the top-five at the helm of the Berco Redwood No. 31c Sprinter. The first year King of the West regular was fresh off a career best third place finish the week before and came back to put together another strong performance at the Cotton Classic. Completing the top-10 were Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid, Hollister’s Ryan Bernal, Altoona, Iowa’s Terry McCarl, Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto and Campbell’s Bud Kaeding.

The night’s 12-lap B-main went to Mitchell Faccinto, with Tim Kaeding as noted winning the six-lap Dash. The four 10-lap Heat Races were won by Rico Abreu, Campbell’s Brent Kaeding, Penngrove’s Chase Johnson and DJ Netto. Abreu kicked-off the evening by setting fast time in the 31-car field with a clocking of 14.031 around the 3/8 mile oval. Full results will be available at www.racepmg.com

King of the West Sprint Car Series
Cotton Classic
Keller Auto Speedway at Kings Fairgrounds
Hanford, CA
Saturday October 15, 2016

Feature: 1. 24 – Rico Abreu, 2. 3C – D.J. Netto, 3. 00JR – Cory Eliason, 4. 83 – Tim Kaeding, 5. 31C – Justyn Cox, 6. 4S – Buddy Kofoid, 7. 56 – Ryan Bernal, 8. 88 – Terry McCarl, 9. 37 – Mitchell Facinto, 10. 0 – Bud Kaeding, 11. 69 – Brent Kaeding, 12. 88V – Jace Vander Weerd, 13. 21X – Kyle Hirst, 14. 25 – Bobby McMahan, 15. 20 – Colby Copeland, 16. 98 – Sean Watts, 17. 72W – Kurt Nelson, 18. 9S – Landon Hurst, 19. 3 – Craig Stidham, 20. 68 – Chase Johnson, 21. 12P – Scott Porter, 22. 41 – Dominic Scelzi

Western RaceSaver Sprint Car Feature: 15 – Blake Robertson, 2. 67C – Cory Eliason, 3. 10M – Mathew Moles, 4. 71M – Jesse Mack, 5. 4 – Dalton Hill, 6. 11 – Blaine Fagundes, 7. 10F – Jared Faria, 8. 5 – Cole Danell, 9. 28 – Eric Correia, 10. 23T – George Tristao, 11. 99T – Tanner Boul, 12. 72K – Scott Meisner, 13. 43 – Steven Wenzel, 14. 37D – Grant Champlin, 15. 67 – Vaughn Scott, 16. 86 – Chris Ennis, 17. 35 – Albert Pombo, 18. 111 Don Boam, 19. 7Z – Zane Blanchard, 20. 5S – Mauro Simone, 21. 22 – Mike Schott