Rico jumps into Team owner Kunz’s arms after Chili Bowl success.
Rico Abreu with a stirring drive put the heat into the 29th Chili Bowl with a measured drive to win the 29th Chili Bowl.
Abreu wins at Tulsa \Pic credit Teejay Crawford
The 2014 USAC National Dirt Midget Champion brought all of his enormous talent to the Tulsa Expo clay coming from behind the defending Champion Clauson to place his hands squarely on the Golden Driller at the end of the 55 laps.
The exuberance Abreu show after his win can only be described as special and track pictures and videos show his and his team emotions better than any word I can write.
Rico doing just what the crowd wanted and they chant Rico, Rico, and Rico. Watch this link . https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10204825040339573
The build up to the 55 lap Championship Feature could not have been better scripted. Preliminary Winners Clauson, Coons and Larson holding down the top three position with Abreu just behind.
Jerry CoonsJr and Bryan Clauson lead the field to the gree
Coons took the field to the green but it was Clauson that stole the early race lead follow but Coons, Deal and Larson .Clauson was smoking out in the lead and the early indications were that the defending Champion was the pace of the field.
Looking for his first Chili Bowl Championship Larson was aggressively looking for any opportunity to pass and on lap 15 spun the Kunz/Beast/Toyota
By lap 20 a change was starting to come over the race with the emergence of Abreu from the pack by lap 20 the USAC Champ has worked past Coons and was looking like a threat to Clauson.
Lap 22, another caution bringing Abreu right onto the tail of the Priority Aviation Esslinger.
On the restart Rico’s car was fast while Clauson’s car appear to be struggling a little and after pushing hard on lap 26 Abreu after running the cushion slid the #97 Toyota hit the bottom and slid under the defending Champion as the crowd got to their feet .Clauson’s tried to respond but the Esslinger had nothing to offer and Rico’s Chili Bowl chances started to look promising.
Abreu’s lead started to lengthen and now the attention was back onto Clauson as he tried to fend off the fast arriving Pittman .Lap 30 and both Clauson’s and Pittman’s Chili Bowl chances were dealt a serious blow when they tangled trying to avoid a spinning Spencer Bayston . Both cars stopped and were rewarded with a rear of the field restart.
The chase for the Golden Driller now took an exciting change as the cautions and troubles for Clauson and Pittman worked a treat for Kevin Swindell who had been slowly working his way through the field after an early incident that saw the four times Chili Bowl Champion end up with a ROF restart .Swindell’s forceful drive was rewarded with his second consecutive runner up position. Damion Gardiner had slowly taken advantages of others mistakes to grind out a satisfying third in the Jason Leffler tribute memorial #71L racecar after starting out of P23.
After crossing the strip Abreu completed the expected donut before throwing his small frame from the top of the Beast/Toyota right into Team owners Keith Kunz’s arms .Amazing celebration
Post race interview Rico Abreu:
“I just tried to stay as patient as I could. You know the race is a not a long race, but it is a long race. For a few laps I just kind of got after it just to see where we were at and I hung with him [Bryan Clauson] pretty good,” commented Abreu about his pass for the lead. “I don’t know how hard he was racing, but when the time was right I pulled the trigger and gave him a slide job and was waiting for him to slide me back. We dragged raced each other into three and I came out with the lead. “
Rico at post race interview
Kevin Swindell on his runner up position:
“You come here four years in a row and leave here as the winner, and sit in that middle chair, it’s no fun to even run second anymore. Last year was kind of depressing and pretty much the same thing of just being a couple laps too late,” commented Swindell. “We had a great car, but somebody else’s mistake really put me behind the eight-ball at the beginning. I did all I could to get back, but Rico was really good at the end.”
There was some post race friction between Sammy Swindell and Kyle Larson, both claiming the other was to blame for incidents during the race. I must say I find the amount of agro against Swindell across the Sport is hard to believe .Texts flying around between to two, unnecessary, the less said about the incident the better, and fans will make up their own minds.
Sammy Swindell in trouble again
A Feature (55 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu ; 2. 39-Kevin Swindell; 3. 71L-Damion Gardner; 4. 67-Tanner Thorson; 5. 1-Sammy Swindell; 6. 21-Daryn Pittman; 7. 71K-Kyle Larson; 8. 15D-Andrew Deal; 9. 5D-Zach Daum; 10. 63-Bryan Clauson; 11. 8K-Blake Hahn; 12. 05-Brad Loyet; 13. 5-Jerry Coons Jr; 14. 7A-Darren Hagen; 15. 2B-Ryan Bernal; 16. 17C-Casey Shuman; 17. 1ST-J.J. Yeley; 18. 39B-Spencer Bayston; 19. 63K-Chris Windom; 20. 17RW-Dave Darland; 21. 15X-Chad Boat; 22. 5C-Colten Cottle; 23. 71-Christopher Bell; 24. 88B-Terry Babb
Lap Leader(s): Bryan Clauson 1-26; Rico Abreu 27-55
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