Abreu Celebrates a Winning Wednesday at the Chili Bowl

Rico Abreu in victory lane following his victory on Wednesday at the Chili Bowl Nationals. (Serena Dalhamer photo)

By T.J. Buffenbarger

TULSA, OK (January 15, 2020) – Rico Abreu showed he still has the touch to get around the River Spirit Expo Center during the Chili Bowl Nationals winning the Hard Rock Casino Qualifing Night feature on Wednesday. Abreu, from St. Helena, California, took the lead from Brad Sweet and held off a late race challenge from Colby Copeland for the victory. This was the fifth time Abreu has won a preliminary feature at the Chili Bowl.

For Abreu challenging Sweet, the defending World of Outlaws sprint car series champion, was a matter of being patient early in the race.

“I know Keith’s (Kunz) cars really come in the last 10 laps,” said Abreu following his victory. “I was just waiting and hanging out for (Sweet) to make some mistakes in traffic. We caught traffic and I turned the pace up and that’s how you get going in these races. You have to set a little faster pace than the lapped cars. I felt that’s where our advantage was.”

Sweet and Abreu started on the front row for the 30-lap preliminary feature. Sweet was able to take the lead on the opening lap while Abreu and Ronnie Gardner ran side by side for second. Abreu nosed ahead on lap two to take second as the top three pulled away from a group of cars racing for fourth on back.

The first caution flag appeared for Jesse Cowell and Karsyn Elledge working lap three. Both drivers restarted at the tail of the field.

Sweet and Abreu pulled away from the field after the restart while Copeland and Gravel raced for fourth behind Gardner.

With five laps in the caution flag appeared again when Tyler Thomas got sideways and had Gio Scelzi, Elledge, Chase Jones, Ryan Newman, Robby Joset pile in. J.J Yeley also went to the work area with a flat tire, but all cars were able to rejoin the field.

After the restart Abreu started to pressure Sweet for the lead including the exchange of some slide jobs, but Sweet was able to hold the lead until Abreu successfully drove around Sweet off turn two on lap 15. Sweet tried to counter, but Abreu held onto the top spot.

After another caution flag Abreu pulled away while Sweet got wide and allowed Copeland to drive by for the second spot. Sweet then found himself in a group of cars racing for third through eighth when Clinton Boyles made contact with another car in spun in turn one.

Abreu continued to lead Copeland and Sweet after the restart as Blake Hahn moved into the fourth spot. After a caution on lap 23 for debris, a big crash took place in turn one that involved multiple cars with Jesse Colwell getting upside down and launching over several cars to bring out the red flag. Parker Price-Miller was also involved and was shaken up in the incident but exited the car under his own power.

Hahn pressured Sweet for the second position when Hahn attempted to slide by Sweet, made contact, sending Sweet hard into the fence in turn four. Sweet was unable to continue with just three laps to go.

Abreu was able to pull away from the field after the final restart for the victory as Copeland held off a final corner charge from Hahn for second. Chase Johnson and Sammy Swindell rounded out the top five.

34th Annual Chili Bowl Nationals
Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night
River Spirit Expo Center
Tulsa, OK
Wednesday January 15, 2020

Heat Race #1 (8 Laps)
1. 57D-Daniel Robinson[3]
2. 50-Daniel Adler[4]
3. 2M-Colby Stubblefield[2]
4. 15F-Kinzer Edwards[9]
5. 0-Billy VanInwegen Jr[7]
6. 7J-Shawn Jackson[5]
7. 51G-Garet Williamson[1]
8. 37-Eddie Tafoya Jr[6]
9. 4F-Chad Frewaldt[8]

Heat Race #2 (8 Laps)
1. 16C-David Camfield Jr[1]
2. 15A-Harley Hollan[2]
3. 9-Tim McCreadie[6]
4. 88N-DJ Netto[3]
5. 08K-Karsyn Elledge[4]
6. 1P-Holly Porter[5]
7. 101-Chuck McGillivray[8]
8. 17K-Michael Koontz[7]
9. DNS: 68S-Scott Scherb

Heat Race #3 (8 Laps)
1. 25C-Chase Johnson[2]
2. 1R-Brad Sweet[7]
3. 45X-Parker Price Miller[1]
4. 67J-Chase Jones[5]
5. 75X-Mike Griffiths[3]
6. 85-Matt Moore[8]
7. 22C-Charlie Crumpton[4]
8. 80-Joe Spillman[6]

Heat Race #4 (8 Laps)
1. 14-Jesse Colwell[1]
2. 27W-Colby Copeland[3]
3. 52-Blake Hahn[5]
4. 22X-Steven Shebester[4]
5. 14E-Jake Neal[2]
6. 2T-Keith Martin[8]
7. 2D-Matt Sherrell[7]
8. 99R-Brad Bowden[6]

Heat Race #5 (8 Laps)
1. 1-Sammy Swindell[1]
2. 73T-Jake Swanson[3]
3. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[8]
4. 2G-JJ Yeley[4]
5. 35X-Tyler Robbins[5]
6. 3W-Brandon Waelti[7]
7. 13B-Johnny Brown Jr[6]
8. 18S-Santino Ferrucci[2]

Heat Race #6 (8 Laps)
1. 97-Rico Abreu[7]
2. 97K-Tom Harris[4]
3. 91T-Tyler Thomas[6]
4. 54-Matt Westfall[2]
5. 71R-Robby Josett[5]
6. 91-Jeff Stasa[3]
7. 54G-Trey Gropp[8]
8. 8B-Colin Deming[1]

Heat Race #7 (8 Laps)
1. 14S-Clinton Boyles[2]
2. 40-Eric Wilkins[6]
3. 6N-Ryan Newman[7]
4. 8W-Mark Lowrey[8]
5. 130-Larry Bratti[1]
6. 99K-Robert Carson[3]
7. 2L-Landon Simon[4]
8. 11E-Cory Elliott[5]

Heat Race #8 (8 Laps)
1. 68-Ronnie Gardner[3]
2. 76G-David Gravel[4]
3. 97X-Austin Odell[1]
4. 11G-Mike Goodman[5]
5. 14J-Matt Streeter[6]
6. 4D-Robert Dalby[7]
7. 18K-Tony Gualda Jr[2]
8. 77J-John Klabonde[8]

C-Main #1 (12 Laps)
1. 4D-Robert Dalby[1]
2. 2D-Matt Sherrell[6]
3. 7J-Shawn Jackson[3]
4. 14E-Jake Neal[2]
5. 4F-Chad Frewaldt[12]
6. 37-Eddie Tafoya Jr[10]
7. 91-Jeff Stasa[5]
8. 77J-John Klabonde[8]
9. 101-Chuck McGillivray[4]
10. 17K-Michael Koontz[9]
11. 22C-Charlie Crumpton[7]
12. 8B-Colin Deming[13]
13. 99R-Brad Bowden[11]

C-Main #2 (12 Laps)
1. 54G-Trey Gropp[4]
2. 2L-Landon Simon[7]
3. 1P-Holly Porter[3]
4. 18K-Tony Gualda Jr[8]
5. 18S-Santino Ferrucci[11]
6. 51G-Garet Williamson[9]
7. 13B-Johnny Brown Jr[6]
8. 99K-Robert Carson[5]
9. 130-Larry Bratti[2]
10. 80-Joe Spillman[10]
11. 75X-Mike Griffiths[1]
12. DNS: 11E-Cory Elliott
13. DNS: 68S-Scott Scherb

Qualifier #1 (10 Laps)
1. 52-Blake Hahn[1]
2. 14S-Clinton Boyles[4]
3. 1-Sammy Swindell[2]
4. 97-Rico Abreu[6]
5. 9-Tim McCreadie[3]
6. 67J-Chase Jones[7]
7. 57D-Daniel Robinson[5]
8. 54-Matt Westfall[9]
9. 22X-Steven Shebester[8]
10. 35X-Tyler Robbins[10]

Qualifier #2 (10 Laps)
1. 1R-Brad Sweet[6]
2. 68-Ronnie Gardner[5]
3. 15F-Kinzer Edwards[1]
4. 71R-Robby Josett[10]
5. 91T-Tyler Thomas[3]
6. 11G-Mike Goodman[7]
7. 8W-Mark Lowrey[2]
8. 50-Daniel Adler[4]
9. 2G-JJ Yeley[8]
10. 85-Matt Moore[9]

Qualifier #3 (10 Laps)
1. 27W-Colby Copeland[2]
2. 97K-Tom Harris[4]
3. 88N-DJ Netto[8]
4. 16C-David Camfield Jr[3]
5. 6N-Ryan Newman[5]
6. 45X-Parker Price Miller[7]
7. 15A-Harley Hollan[1]
8. 08K-Karsyn Elledge[10]
9. 40-Eric Wilkins[6]
10. 2T-Keith Martin[9]

Qualifier #4 (10 Laps)
1. 73T-Jake Swanson[2]
2. 76G-David Gravel[4]
3. 25C-Chase Johnson[5]
4. 14-Jesse Colwell[3]
5. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[6]
6. 97X-Austin Odell[7]
7. 2M-Colby Stubblefield[1]
8. 0-Billy VanInwegen Jr[9]
9. 14J-Matt Streeter[8]
10. 3W-Brandon Waelti[10]

B-Main 1 (15 Laps)
1. 14-Jesse Colwell[1]
2. 9-Tim McCreadie[2]
3. 57D-Daniel Robinson[3]
4. 2G-JJ Yeley[10]
5. 0-Billy VanInwegen Jr[9]
6. 2D-Matt Sherrell[14]
7. 85-Matt Moore[11]
8. 15A-Harley Hollan[7]
9. 4D-Robert Dalby[13]
10. 54-Matt Westfall[8]
11. 7J-Shawn Jackson[15]
12. 14E-Jake Neal[16]
13. 8W-Mark Lowrey[6]
14. 97X-Austin Odell[5]
15. 11G-Mike Goodman[4]
16. 35X-Tyler Robbins[12]

B-Main 2 (15 Laps)
1. 91T-Tyler Thomas[2]
2. 45X-Parker Price Miller[4]
3. 08K-Karsyn Elledge[8]
4. 67J-Chase Jones[3]
5. 22X-Steven Shebester[9]
6. 18K-Tony Gualda Jr[16]
7. 54G-Trey Gropp[13]
8. 15F-Kinzer Edwards[1]
9. 14J-Matt Streeter[10]
10. 1P-Holly Porter[15]
11. 2M-Colby Stubblefield[7]
12. 3W-Brandon Waelti[12]
13. 2T-Keith Martin[11]
14. 2L-Landon Simon[14]
15. 40-Eric Wilkins[5]
16. 50-Daniel Adler[6]

A-Main (30 Laps)
1. 97-Rico Abreu[2]
2. 27W-Colby Copeland[7]
3. 52-Blake Hahn[10]
4. 25C-Chase Johnson[9]
5. 1-Sammy Swindell[13]
6. 91T-Tyler Thomas[18]
7. 76G-David Gravel[6]
8. 9-Tim McCreadie[19]
9. 73T-Jake Swanson[8]
10. 84-Giovanni Scelzi[12]
11. 2G-JJ Yeley[23]
12. 67J-Chase Jones[24]
13. 97K-Tom Harris[5]
14. 57D-Daniel Robinson[21]
15. 14-Jesse Colwell[17]
16. 14S-Clinton Boyles[4]
17. 71R-Robby Josett[14]
18. 16C-David Camfield Jr[16]
19. 1R-Brad Sweet[1]
20. 45X-Parker Price Miller[20]
21. 6N-Ryan Newman[15]
22. 08K-Karsyn Elledge[22]
23. 88N-DJ Netto[11]
24. 68-Ronnie Gardner[3]