In January, Rico Abreu piloted a dirt Midget to victory lane inside the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the Chili Bowl. In July he drove a stock car to the win in a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on pavement at Ohio’s Columbus Motor Speedway. In December, Abreu will be driving a Super Late Model in the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
But Abreu isn’t necessarily looking to win the race. Sure, he’s a race car driver and every race car driver wants to win every race they enter, but Abreu is trying to be realistic about his first Snowball Derby attempt.
“I’ve learned it’s really hard to make the race there,” said Abreu. “I know there’s live pit stops too and that’ll be really interesting for me because I’ve never done anything like that. If I can make the race and get a solid top 10 that would be great for me.”
The 23-year-old has made plenty of big dirt races before. He’s qualified into the Chili Bowl and won there this year. He’s raced in the Knoxville Nationals for Sprint Cars in Iowa. Now he’s hoping to do the same in pavement short track racing’s biggest race, and that has him very excited.
“All I hear is great things about this race,” Abreu said. “It’s pretty much the Knoxville Nationals of pavement racing as far as I’m aware.”
The Rutherford, California native will be racing for David and Todd Gilliland in their Super Late Model. Abreu tested their car earlier this year at Five Flags, as well as at Virginia’s Langley Speedway, and he said the test sessions have him even more excited about heading to Five Flags for a race.
“I think it’s going to be good,” he said. “It’s all about getting through the bump into three and getting the car straight off of four. The wall into one is a little different, but I’m excited to get to race there and see where we stand with the Gilliland car.”
While Abreu said he just wants to focus on making the starting field for the 48th Annual Snowball Derby, he is also thinking about what it would be like to win the event. After opening the year with a win in one of dirt racing’s biggest events at the Chili Bowl, he has a chance to close out his year with a win where the pavement short track racing spotlight shines the brightest.
“That would be huge,” said Abreu. “It would be really big. Words wouldn’t even be able to describe the level of happiness I’d have if I won that race. I know it’s very difficult to win. There’s a lot of good drivers there. I’m looking forward to it.”
The 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend kicks off with the Cat Country/WEAR-TV3 Green Flag Party on Wednesday, December 2. On-track activities start Thursday, December 3, for the opening practice rounds for the Snowball Derby Super Late Models and Snowflake 100 Pro Late Models. The Five Flags Butler U-Pull-It Bombers and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Sportsman divisions will also have feature events on Snowball Derby Thursday.
The top Snowball Derby starting spots will be set on Friday, December 4 during WXBM 102.7 Pole Night at Five Flags. The Five Flags Faith Chapel Super Stocks and Modifieds will also battle in their Snowball Derby features after Super Late Model qualifying.
The Allen Turner Hyundai Snowflake 100 takes center stage on Saturday, December 5 as the top Pro Late Model racers in the country qualify and battle for 100 laps at Five Flags. In addition, Saturday’s action features the final 50-lap qualifying event for Snowball Derby drivers to make one last effort to qualify for the 300-lap Super Late Model race. The Better Built Tool Box Pro Trucks will also have a 50-lap feature on Snowball Derby Saturday.
Then on Sunday, December 6, the green flag will drop on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby at 2 p.m. CT at Pensacola, Florida’s Five Flags Speedway.
For more information on the 48th Annual Snowball Derby weekend at Five Flags Speedway, visit www.snowballderby.com. All media credential requests and inquiries for the Snowball Derby can be sent to Matt Kentfield at [email protected] and/or Pat Bryant at [email protected]
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-51 Sports Press Release. Photo Credit: Speed51.com Photo