ROSSBURG, Ohio — Rico Abreu arrived at Eldora Speedway Saturday evening via an airplane ride from Tony Stewart, after competing in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
And as soon as the California driver hit the western Ohio half-mile for the first time on the day, it was as if he was still onboard the jet, piloting his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports entry to a sweep of the night’s USAC National Midget events.
Abreu set fast time, then followed that up with an eight-lap, track record run in his heat race before slashing his way to third from his sixth starting position by the end of the first lap of the feature.
He then rocketed around the outside of teammate Tanner Thorson in turn two on the second lap, quickly running down leader Chad Boat by the time the two got to turn three.
Abreu instantly shot down to the bottom of turn three for a classic Eldora slide job right up in front of Boat to take the top spot as Boat countered underneath Abreu and drag raced to the line with Abreu beating Boat back to the stripe by a wheel.
Boat, who won both nights at the Belleville Midget Nationals one month ago, made one more attempt on Abreu into turn one on the third lap, but came up short as Abreu shot out of a cannon off the turn two cushion to leave Boat in his afterthoughts.
By the 10th lap, Abreu had established a full-straightaway lead that continued to grow as he sliced, diced and pureed his way through the backmarkers.
However,with just four laps remaining, Abreu’s advantage would be wiped away as Tyler Courtney slowed with a broken U-joint.
On the lap-22 restart, it was no contest as Abreu pulled away without missing a beat, but the battle for second waged between Boat, Thorson and Brady Bacon became the race to watch as Thorson slid by Boat for second entering turn one.
Bacon slipped past Boat as well for third and made a mad dash toward Thorson for second in turn one a lap later, coming up just short.
In the end, Abreu finished off one of the most impressive drives in 4-Crown midget history, lapping up to sixth place on his way to his second career USAC Midget victory at Eldora in his No. 97 DC Solar/Abreu Vineyards Bullet-Speedway Toyota for Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
“Keith Kunz gives me phenomenal race cars every time I come and race with him. I’m very fortunate I get to race with him,” Abreu said. “It’s special every time I get to stand up here (on the stage at Eldora). I’ve come close a lot this year and last year, but just never was able to get a win. We’ve had solid finishes here and I’m glad to get one.”
Thorson took second in his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports-owned, TRD/JBL Audio-sponsored Bullet/Speedway Toyota — edging his way into the thick of a tightened USAC National Midget point race.
He now sits just 30 points behind Spencer Bayston, who dropped out on the sixth lap of Saturday night’s feature and finishing 22nd.
Brady Bacon finished third in his FMR Racing/Beast/Toyota.