Abreu Makes It Four Wins On Chili Bowl Wednesday

TULSA, Okla. — Rico Abreu continued Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports’ incredible start to Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals week with a runaway victory during Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night on Wednesday.

Abreu stormed past polesitter and early leader Cole Bodine on lap eight, using an outside-inside crossover down the backstretch to surge to the point and never looking back from there.

The two-time Chili Bowl winner then pulled away over the final 17 laps, opening up a 1.794-second margin of victory over fellow Toyota stablemate David Gravel at the finish.

“I had a great car,” Abreu said. “Keith and I just kind of worked on it all night. We were a little snug, but I knew as the track developed, it would come right to us. I hit three really good laps on the bottom, and it shot me to the lead.

“When I got up top, I could see David inching on the bottom down here, and I just knew my entry speed into (turn) three wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. At that point, I just moved down and my car just really hooked up off of (turn) four on the bottom.”

The victory was Abreu’s fourth in the last five years on the Chili Bowl’s Wednesday preliminary night.

With Abreu’s win, team owner Keith Kunz also remains perfect through the first three nights of Chili Bowl week. Kunz-prepared cars have now won six of the last seven preliminary night features overall.

Abreu noted that even with 11 cars in the KKM stable, the team’s success comes down to successful preparation and execution.

“Keith’s group of guys work hard and that’s what makes their cars so successful,” Abreu said. “They have good drivers, they have a good program with Toyota and all the sponsors that work with them to get the team to where it is. I was talking to Keith … and this isn’t just this year or last year, it’s been building over the last 15 years for Keith and he’s really building an empire.

“It’s incredible to be a part of this team. This is my eighth season competing with KKM and I’m grateful for all the success I’ve had with him.”

Bodine earned the pole by virtue of scoring the most points through heat races and qualifiers, and when the green flag waved he got the jump over Abreu, who dropped back to third on the outside and had to settle in before he began to rally back forward.

Abreu recaptured the runner-up spot on the third round from Blake Hahn, then set his sights on Bodine for the race lead. He trailed the No. 57B NOS Energy Drink entry for four laps before rim-riding the top side through turns one and two and shooting underneath Bodine going down the backstretch.

Once he got to turn three on lap eight, Abreu was clear out front and proceeded to run away from the rest of his competition, despite a pair of cautions later in the event that brought the field back to him.

A yellow on lap night for a two-car crash between Alex Bright and Sammy Swindell reset Bodine on Abreu’s back bumper, but the Rossville, Ind., native could do nothing with Abreu’s No. 97 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota following the restart.

Eventually the door was opened for Tim McCreadie to pass Bodine for second on lap 12, but it was a caution one lap after the halfway point that truly shuffled the deck and led to a surprise name punching his ticket into Saturday’s 55-lap championship main.

After Tyler Thomas flipped in turn four and collected Holley Hollan in the aftermath, the 11-lap sprint to the finish that followed featured two- and three-wide racing from third to sixth, with World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series star David Gravel ultimately making his first Chili Bowl main with a second-place finish.

Gravel is racing this week as a teammate to Brady Bacon at Frank Manafort Racing, and Wednesday night’s result means that both Manafort cars will race in Saturday’s finale.

It also marked the realization of a dream for Gravel, who is making his fifth Chili Bowl appearance and has raced with four different teams before finding his way into this year’s starting field.

“I’m excited that we’re locked into the show for Saturday,” said Gravel. “I thought the track was good. The bottom was solid. The top was good. I would catch Rico a little bit on the bottom, and then he would kind of switch it up. That would stop my momentum, but I was happy with the race track and I’m excited for Saturday.”

Bodine faded from the pole back to third, one spot out of a lock-in spot, followed by Jake Swanson, who gridded up 17th after winning one of the night’s two B-mains and raced his way to finish fourth.

Sixteen-year-old Cannon McIntosh completed the top five and became the youngest top-five finisher in history at 16 years and one month old with his run in his family-owned No. 08 entry.

McCreadie, Colby Copeland, Ryan Smith, Robert Dalby and Daniel Robinson were the balance of the top 10.

Chili Bowl Nationals, night three, Tulsa Expo Raceway, Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 16, 2018Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 15M-Jason McDougal, [2]; 2. 52-Blake Hahn, [4]; 3. 4D-Robert Dalby, [6]; 4. 91T-Tyler Thomas, [1]; 5. 45H-Anthony Pope, [3]; 6. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [7]; 7. 16C-David Camfield III, [5]; (DNS) 7HM-Heath Murry, ; (DNS) 10K-Marvin Mitchell,Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [2]; 2. 54W-Matt Westfall, [5]; 3. 1L-Landon Simon, [3]; 4. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [7]; 5. 3JR-Jarrett Soares, [1]; 6. 87F-Johnny Kent, [6]; 7. 78-Rob Caho Sr., [4]; (DNS) 35X-Tyler Robbins,Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [2]; 2. 28-Kory Schudy, [8]; 3. 31-Travis Berryhill, [1]; 4. 91-Jeff Stasa, [7]; 5. 29A-Davey Ray, [6]; 6. 22E-Shane Stewart, [4]; 7. 8K-Robert Spino, [5]; 8. 75X-Mike Griffiths, [3]Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 57C-Cole Bodine, [2]; 2. 68W-Jake Swanson, [1]; 3. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [7]; 4. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [4]; 5. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [8]; 6. 52K-John Dyson, [5]; 7. (DNF) 9P-Tom Harris, [6]; (DQ) 2J-J.J. Yeley, [3]***No. 2J, Yeley, Disqualified for not allowing officials to tech fuel.Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 9-Tim McCreadie, [2]; 2. 76G-David Gravel, [5]; 3. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [7]; 4. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [6]; 5. 51G-Garet Williamson, [3]; 6. 96-Cody Brewer, [4]; 7. 00S-Randy Sterling, [8]; 8. 77J-John Klabunde, [1]Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 87-Colby Copeland, [1]; 2. 67R-Ryan Smith, [2]; 3. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [6]; 4. 50-Daniel Adler, [5]; 5. 43-Justin Peck, [8]; 6. 9T-Tyler Shoemaker, [3]; 7. 21X-Landon Cassill, [7]; 8. (DNF) 50J-Brian Jones, [4]Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [2]; 2. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [1]; 3. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [3]; 4. 67K-Holley Hollan, [8]; 5. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [4]; 6. 12-Billy Wease, [6]; 7. 14E-Jake Neal, [5]; 8. 23P-Patrick Lawson, [7]Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, [3]; 2. 13M-Dennis Gile, [2]; 3. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [7]; 4. 37X-Andrew Prather, [1]; 5. 19S-Matt Streeter, [8]; 6. 49J-Jim Gardner, [5]; 7. (DNF) 44S-Brian Beebe, [6]; 8. (DNF) 16-Joey Parker, [4]Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 47-Alex Bright, [1]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 3. 17K-Michael Koontz, [2]; 4. 22X-Steven Shebester, [6]; 5. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [4]; 6. 22C-Conor Daly, [3]; 7. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [7]; (DNS) 5T-Presley Truedson,C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [1]; 2. 96-Cody Brewer, [7]; 3. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [2]; 4. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [9]; 5. 51G-Garet Williamson, [3]; 6. 22C-Conor Daly, [8]; 7. 8K-Robert Spino, [11]; 8. 35X-Tyler Robbins, [16]; 9. 87F-Johnny Kent, [4]; 10. 77J-John Klabunde, [15]; 11. 00S-Randy Sterling, [6]; 12. (DNF) 52K-John Dyson, [5]; 13. (DNF) 44S-Brian Beebe, [10]; 14. (DNF) 75X-Mike Griffiths, [14]; 15. (DNF) 78-Rob Caho Sr., [12]; (DNS) 50J-Brian Jones,C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 22E-Shane Stewart, [6]; 2. 9P-Tom Harris, [9]; 3. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [1]; 4. 12-Billy Wease, [4]; 5. 16-Joey Parker, [13]; 6. 14E-Jake Neal, [11]; 7. 16C-David Camfield III, [10]; 8. 21X-Landon Cassill, [8]; 9. 49J-Jim Gardner, [5]; 10. 5T-Presley Truedson, [16]; 11. 3JR-Jarrett Soares, [3]; 12. 9T-Tyler Shoemaker, [7]; 13. 45H-Anthony Pope, [2]; 14. 23P-Patrick Lawson, [12]; 15. (DNF) 2J-J.J. Yeley, [14]; (DNS) 7HM-Heath Murry,Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [1]; 2. 9-Tim McCreadie, [3]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 4. 15M-Jason McDougal, [4]; 5. 68W-Jake Swanson, [7]; 6. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [8]; 7. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [2]; 8. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [10]; 9. 28-Kory Schudy, [6]; 10. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [9]Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [3]; 2. 87-Colby Copeland, [2]; 3. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [5]; 4. 17-Chris Windom, [6]; 5. 91-Jeff Stasa, [1]; 6. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [4]; 7. 43-Justin Peck, [8]; 8. 29A-Davey Ray, [10]; 9. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [7]; 10. 17K-Michael Koontz, [9]Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 52-Blake Hahn, [3]; 2. 47-Alex Bright, [2]; 3. 91T-Tyler Thomas, [10]; 4. 67R-Ryan Smith, [1]; 5. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [4]; 6. 54W-Matt Westfall, [6]; 7. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [5]; 8. 50-Daniel Adler, [9]; 9. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [7]; 10. 19S-Matt Streeter, [8]Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 57C-Cole Bodine, [4]; 2. 67K-Holley Hollan, [2]; 3. 76G-David Gravel, [6]; 4. 4D-Robert Dalby, [3]; 5. 13M-Dennis Gile, [1]; 6. 22X-Steven Shebester, [7]; 7. 31-Travis Berryhill, [9]; 8. 1L-Landon Simon, [8]; 9. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [5]; 10. 37X-Andrew Prather, [10]B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 68W-Jake Swanson, [1]; 2. 43-Justin Peck, [7]; 3. 29A-Davey Ray, [9]; 4. 67R-Ryan Smith, [2]; 5. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [6]; 6. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [4]; 7. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [13]; 8. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [8]; 9. 96-Cody Brewer, [14]; 10. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [16]; 11. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [10]; 12. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [15]; 13. 13M-Dennis Gile, [5]; 14. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [11]; 15. 28-Kory Schudy, [3]; 16. (DNF) 17K-Michael Koontz, [12]B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 54W-Matt Westfall, [1]; 2. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [3]; 3. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [2]; 4. 9P-Tom Harris, [14]; 5. 31-Travis Berryhill, [6]; 6. 22E-Shane Stewart, [13]; 7. 91-Jeff Stasa, [4]; 8. 1L-Landon Simon, [9]; 9. 50-Daniel Adler, [8]; 10. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [15]; 11. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [7]; 12. 12-Billy Wease, [16]; 13. 19S-Matt Streeter, [11]; 14. 37X-Andrew Prather, [12]; 15. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [10]; 16. (DNF) 22X-Steven Shebester, [5]Feature (25 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [2]; 2. 76G-David Gravel, [4]; 3. 57C-Cole Bodine, [1]; 4. 68W-Jake Swanson, [17]; 5. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [7]; 6. 9-Tim McCreadie, [6]; 7. 87-Colby Copeland, [11]; 8. 67R-Ryan Smith, [23]; 9. 4D-Robert Dalby, [15]; 10. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [20]; 11. 52-Blake Hahn, [3]; 12. 43-Justin Peck, [19]; 13. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [10]; 14. 47-Alex Bright, [12]; 15. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 16. 9P-Tom Harris, [24]; 17. 54W-Matt Westfall, [18]; 18. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [22]; 19. 15M-Jason McDougal, [14]; 20. 67K-Holley Hollan, [13]; 21. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [16]; 22. (DNF) 91T-Tyler Thomas, [9]; 23. (DNF) 17-Chris Windom, [8]; 24. (DNF) 29A-Davey Ray,

SPEED SPORT’s Chili Bowl coverage is presented by MyRacePass, the official timing and scoring app of the 2019 Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. Fans can download the MyRacePass app on their phones to follow all the action during the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals. For more information on MyRacePass, visit www.myracepass.com. All of SPEED SPORT’s Live From The Chili Bowl presented by MyRacePass coverage can be found by clicking here.

Watch The Chili Bowl Live: The Chili Bowl will be shown live online on www.racinboys.com. The online PPV experience will run from Monday through Saturday’s qualifiers. At the time of opening ceremonies (6 p.m. local time) on Saturday, Racinboys PPV coverage will cease as the final features will be shown live on MAVTV (more information here).

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