Abreu hits the spot with Pepsi National victory.
Angell Park, Sun Prarie was the venue for the 34th running of the Pepsi midget Nationals co sanctioned by USAC-POWRi and BMARA . Most of the top peddlers were signed in, one notable exception was Christopher Bell but the Keith Kunz’s team of Abreu, Thorson and Kevin Thomas Jr offered a challenge for those seeking the Pepsi National Title.
Bryan Clauson set fast time during qualifying ahead of Rico Abreu fresh from his pavement win in the K&N Pro Series Late Model at Columbus Speedway , Kevin Thomas Jr was third fastest .
Rookie Ryan Robinson found himself on the front row with Thorson but was unable to beat Thorson to the point and had to settle in at second for the first circuit of the Angell park track. Is was not long before fast qualifier Clauson had run past Robinson and started to close on Thorson.
The Clauson challenge expired on lap 4 out with rear tyre problems forcing the officials to bring out the first caution of the evening. Clauson would go to the work area and return with the task ahead of the #63 Rusty Kunz/Joe Dooling entry.
Billy Balog, Tucker klaasmeyer would be responsible for cautions during the race while a big flip by Tracy Hines would see the first and only red for the night. Hines wild flip in turns three and four would end his Pepsi charge , racecar knocked about but Hines walked away thankfully.
The race to the flag over the latter stages of the race was a Kunz /Toyota battle between teammates and right up until the final laps it looked very much like Thorson would take the win, sitting back in second Abreu used the final corner to slide under his younger teammate and gain a narrow but decisive win.
Kevin Thomas Jr completed the Kunz/Toyota podium ahead of Clauson who had worked back into contention and Darren Hagan.
Drivers comments :
Rico Abreu ““That was a lot of fun,” stated Rico Abreu. “Keith Kunz and Pete Willoughby gave me a fantastic car. I kind of stole Tanner’s thunder there, but he just keeps getting better and better. It’s one of those races where you want to be running second. You can search around a lot more running second. It’s a lot of fun running with these guys. I enjoy racing all these cars. It just keeps making me better and better.”
Tanner Thorson “I wouldn’t want to lose it to anyone more than Rico,” commented Tanner Thorson. “He definitely earned it. I heard he was working the top and I was out there in the front trying to do my deal. I knew someone was there and I was holding my breath the last five laps; I could see him. I didn’t know if it was him or KT because they’re both fast. But, hat’s off to this team to put another Keith Kunz podium out there.”
Kevin Thomas Jr “To be on the podium is pretty nice,” said Kevin Thomas, Jr. “Keith and Pete always preach to me about the bigger picture. It’s just a blessing that this team gives us the best cars you could drive. Hat’s off to Rico and Tanner. I saw Rico slide Tanner there on the last lap and it was fun from where I was sitting, but unfortunately it was third.”
PEPSI NATIONAL (30 laps): 1. 97 – Rico Abreu, 2. 67 – Tanner Thorson, 3. 67k – Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. 63 – Bryan Clauson, 5. 17 – Darren Hagen, 6. 11A – Andrew Felker, 7. 39 – Spencer Bayston, 8. 71 – Ryan Robinson, 9. 91T – Tyler Thomas, 10. 9K – Kyle Schuett, 11. 52 – Isaac Chapple, 12. 21k – Kurt Mayhew, 13. 7 – Austin Brown, 14. 24 – Tracy Hines, 15. 77 – Kaitlynn Leer, 16. 82 – Eric Johnson, 17. 8 – Jimi Quinn, 18. 57 – Bill Balog, 19. 31 – David Budres, 20. 27 – Tucker Klaasmeyer, 21. 20 – Cody Weisensel
Feature lap leaders : 1-29 Tanner Thorson lap30 Rico Abreu
The next scheduled Honda National Midget event is July 28th -Solomon Valley
The next schedule POWRi National Midget event is July 11th at Fairbury American legion Speedway .