Rico Abreu notches his 2nd career Speedweek victory
ABBOTTSTOWN — Rico Abreu dominated the 30-lap Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek feature Monday night at Lincoln Speedway.
The Californian earned $7,000 for his first career Lincoln sprint car win and second career win in Speedweek competition.
Abreu was never seriously challenged even racing through lapped traffic.
“That was a lot of fun, just basing your speed off lapped traffic and making the right moves,” Abreu said. “I knew the top was so dominant. I could carry so much entry speed getting off. I really judged my pace off lapped traffic waiting on guys to move down and then zip around them.”
Abreu carried a lot of momentum around a narrow outside groove that gave him great big runs down the straightaways.
“It was all that entry to finish speed and how you pointed your car getting off and you could use the wall for that launch down the backstretch,” he said. “How about all the fans for a Monday night. It’s pretty cool. I love racing in Pennsylvania. I love how passionate the fans are. That’s what keeps me motivated on the nights you struggle. We’re all very fortunate to be at a race track right now.
The Speedweek competition is at an all-time high.
“Tonight’s about as tough as it gets for a Pennsylvania show without the Outlaws being here,” Abreu said. “Lincoln has such a consistent track that races really well throughout the whole night.”
Abreu started on the pole and wasted no time jumping into the lead over defending All Star series champion Aaron Reutzel, who was making his first start of Speedweek.
Abreu’s lead was almost two seconds with five laps completed as he began lapping slower cars.
Meanwhile, Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson were trading sliders for the third spot.
Reutzel was closing on the leader, but a yellow flag with 12 laps completed got him back into clean air.
It was Abreu, Reutzel, Bell and Larson for the restart.
Reutzel tried the inside groove on the restart, but Abreu was simply too fast around the cushion.
Bell and Larson swapped third again and Brent Marks moved into the picture passing Larson for fourth. The lead was 1.4 seconds at the halfway-point as Larson took fourth back from Marks.
Reutzel really cut into the lead, but another yellow with 11 laps to go gave Abreu clear track again. He controlled the restart as the others scrambled for position behind him.
They raced right up at the fence over the final 10 laps. Reutzel closed momentarily, but Abreu stayed mistake free, scoring the win by two seconds. Reutzel, Bell, Marks and Ryan Smith completed the top five.
“He set a tremendous pace the whole race,” Reutzel said. “My car was really good, but I had to drive really, really hard to stay with him. I felt like towards the end, he was struggling to get off where I could peel off and started to get up to him. He ran a perfect race and we’ll have to settle for second.”
“I’m glad to be here,” Bell, who moved into NASCAR after starting his career on the short dirt tracks, said. “It’s really cool to be here. This is a hotbed for sprint car racing and it’s truly one a of a kind out here.”
Larson faded to sixth, his worst finish in over a month of dirt track racing, after tapping the fourth turn wall.
Speedweek point leader Danny Dietrich, 21st starter Freddie Rahmer, Cory Eliason and Tim Wagaman rounded out the top 10.
The 42-car field was split into two flights for qualifying. Larson set quick time in the first flight with a lap of 13.564 seconds and Reutzel in the second at 13.841 seconds.
The heat races were won by Larson, Bell, Smith and Eliason. Rahmer won the B-main.
Dietrich leads the Speedweek points by 24 over Larson (608-584). Abreu is third (523); Rahmer is fourth (514) and Smith is fifth (514).
Speedweek continues tonight at Grandview Speedway, near Pottstown. The winner of the 35-lap main event earns $10,000. Port Royal’s first Speedweek race is Wednesday, paying $7,000 to win.
In major national news, the 37th King’s Royal at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway has been postponed until July 2021 due to the pandemic. The King’s Royal is one of the crown jewels of all of sprint car racing. Brad Sweet won $175,000 at the 2019 race.
An announcement regarding the fate of the 60th annual Knoxville Nationals, the biggest sprint car race in the world held in August in South-Central Iowa, is expected Wednesday.