Californian Abreu dominates in Speedweek finale
Wolfe holds lead for series title
SELINSGROVE — California’s Rico Abreu capped off Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek with a dominating win in the Jan Opperman /Dick Bogar Memorial Sunday night at Selinsgrove Speedway.
But in the chase for the Speedweek championship, it was Lucas Wolfe winning his third by 29 points over Danny Dietrich.
In the 30-lap main event, it was all Abreu as he led every lap.
“That was a lot of fun,” Abreu said. “Track position was key. I will have to put this whole thing on my schedule next year. It was a lot of fun. It was a big learning curve for me to get to all of these different tracks. That last time I was in Pennsylvania racing was two years ago. It was an up and down week. We had a lot of speed, but didn’t show it at the end of these races. Tonight, we capitalized on everything.”
Abreu, of St. Helena, Calif. grabbed the lead from Anthony Macri as they raced off turn two on the opening lap. Danny Dietrich raced third in his quest for a second straight Speedweek title.
The caution flew with one down for Mike Walter II.
Abreu reached slower traffic with six laps completed as Macri stayed within striking distance.
“It was hard to go anywhere, but I got a few good runs,” Abreu said. “I tried to judge my speed off the car in front of me since I wasn’t racing anyone. I tried to be patient and make the right decision when I got to them.”
Macri closed the gap in lapped traffic and was on the leader’s bumper. Abreu split two lapped cars as they exited turn two and raced down the back stretch. Macri cleared the slower cars, too, but his engine blew with 11 laps completed. The red flag stopped the race as a small fire erupted. He was okay.
Dietrich lined up second behind Abreu for the restart. Wolfe restarted fifth.
On the restart, Dale Blaney challenged Dietrich for second as Blane Heimbach passed Wolfe for the fifth spot.
By lap 14, Abreu increased his lead to 2.475 seconds over Dietrich. Heimbach passed Greg Hodnett for fourth. Abreu blasted around slower cars and had a 3.297-second lead with 10 laps to go.
Dietrich began to chip away at the lead over the final five laps, but it was Abreu scoring his first career central Pennsylvania sprint car win by 1.339 seconds over Dietrich. Blaney, Heimbach and Hodnett completed the top five.
Brock Zearfoss passed Wolfe to finish sixth. Wolfe hung onto seventh and the series championship. T.J. Stutts, Australian James McFadden and Ryan Smith rounded out the top 10.
“It’s a culmination of a lot of work and effort over the whole week,” said Wolfe, of Mechanicsburg. “We only had one break there on Thursday night so it was a lot of full days. It shows your team’s mettle in the longevity of it. It was good for us. I would have liked to finish a little stronger in some of the nights throughout the week. But all things considered we accumulated the most points. I’m happy to win it in our first year together.”
Trey Starks set fast time over the 29-car field with a lap of 16.431. The heat races were won by Hodnett, Blaney and Dietrich. Tyler Walker won the consolation.
After Wolfe and Dietrich, the Speedweek top five were Freddie Rahmer, Zearfoss and McFadden. The back half of the series top 10 are Starks, four-time champion Hodnett, Blaney, Abreu and Stutts. Wolfe gets $5,000 for winning the title.
Five of the nine Speedweek races were won by West Coast drivers. Along with Abreu, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson (Elk Grove, Calif.) took three checkers and Starks, who hails from Washington state, had a win. Only Wolfe, defending champ Dietrich and Hodnett had claimed a Speedweek win previously.