Rossburg, Ohio.........Rico Abreu arrived at Eldora Speedway Saturday evening via an airplane ride alongside Tony Stewart after competing in the afternoon's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in New Hampshire.
As soon as the St. Helena, California driver hit the western Ohio half-mile for the first time on Saturday, it almost seemed as if Abreu was still on-board a jet as he piloted his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports entry to a complete sweep of the night's USAC National Midget events, recording ProSource Fast Qualifying time, then following that up with a new 8-lap track record run on his way to a heat race victory before slashing his way to third from his sixth starting position by the end of the first lap of the feature.
Abreu rocketed around the outside of teammate Tanner Thorson in turn two on the second lap, and then quickly ran down leader Chad Boat by the time the two got to turn three.
Abreu instantly shot down to the bottom of turn three for a classic Eldora slide job right up in front of Boat to take the top spot as Boat countered underneath Abreu and drag raced to the line with Abreu beating Boat back to the stripe by a wheel.
Boat, who won both nights at the "Belleville Midget Nationals," one month ago, made one more attempt on Abreu into turn one on the third lap, but came up short as Abreu shot out of a cannon off the turn two cushion to instantly leave Boat in his afterthoughts.
By the tenth lap, Abreu had established a full-straightaway lead that continued to grow as he sliced, diced and pureed his way through the backmarkers while the lap counter on the scoreboard ticked away, but with just four laps remaining, Abreu's lead would be wiped away as Tyler Courtney slowed with a broken U-Joint.
On the lap 22 restart, it was no contest as Abreu pulled away without missing a beat, but the battle for second waged between Boat, Thorson and Brady Bacon became the race to watch as Thorson slid by Boat for second entering turn one. Bacon slipped past Boat as well for third and made a mad-dash toward Thorson for second in turn one a lap later that came up short.
Yet, in the distance was Abreu who finished off one of the most impressive drives in "4-Crown" midget history as he lapped up to sixth place on his way to his second career USAC Midget victory at Eldora (2013) in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian/DC Solar - Abreu Vineyards/Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
"Keith Kunz gives me phenomenal racecars every time I come and race with him. I'm very fortunate I get to race with him," Abreu praised. "It's special every time I get to stand up here (at Eldora). I've come close a lot this year and last year, but just never was able to get a win, but we've had solid finishes here."
Minden, Nevada's Tanner Thorson took second in his Keith Kunz - Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/TRD - JBL Audio/Bullet/Speedway Toyota as he edged his way into the thick of a tightened USAC National Midget point race where he now sits just 30 points out of the lead behind Spencer Bayston who dropped out on the sixth lap of Saturday night's feature and finishing in the 22nd position.
Brady Bacon, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, finished third in his FMR Racing/Beast/Toyota. With five races remaining, Bacon finds himself 27 points out of the lead in the series standings and just five behind Boat.
Contingency award winners Saturday night at Eldora Speedway included Rico Abreu (ProSource Fast Qualifier & Simpson Race Products First Heat Winner), Spencer Bayston (Competition Suspension, Inc. (CSI) Second Heat Winner), Chad Boat (Benic Enterprises/Indy Race Parts Third Heat Winner), Carson Macedo (KSE Racing Products/Larry Rice High Performance Hard Charger) and Jake Neuman (Wilwood Brakes 13th Place Feature Finisher).
USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACE RESULTS: September 24, 2016 - Rossburg, Ohio - Eldora Speedway - 35th "4-Crown Nationals"
PROSOURCE QUALIFYING: 1. Rico Abreu, 97k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.164; 2. Spencer Bayston, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.647; 3. Brady Bacon, 76m, FMR-17.647; 4. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.721; 5. Davey Ray, 33, Team RAYPRO-17.724; 6. Chad Boat, 84, Tucker/Boat-17.775; 7. Ryan Robinson, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.852; 8. Holly Shelton, 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-17.972; 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 25x, Petry/Goff-18.065; 10. Jake Blackhurst, 37, Felker-18.153; 11. Tyler Courtney, 7k, Irwin-18.155; 12. Ryan Greth, 4, Lesher-18.197; 13. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-18.211; 14. Dave Darland, 11AG, Gray-18.236; 15. Justin Grant, 37x, Felker-18.391; 16. Jake Neuman, 3N, Neuman-18.491; 17. Isaac Chapple, 52c, Chapple-18.528; 18. Bear Wood, 8JR, LW-19.075; 19. Eric Hein, 3, Drangmeister-20.411; 19. Robert Bell, 71-1/2, Bell-NT (Time of 19.266 disallowed); 20. Gary Gipson, 5, Byers-NT (Time of 19.763 disallowed); 22. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-NT; 23. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-NT; 24. Carson Macedo, 71k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-NT; 25. Ken Drangmeister, 76, Drangmeister-NT.
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Abreu, 2. Thorson, 3. Felker, 4. Robinson, 5. Neuman, 6. Blackhurst, 7. Hein, 8. DiMattia. 2:08.94 (NTR)
COMPETITION SUSPENSION (CSI) SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bayston, 2. Darland, 3. Ray, 4. Shelton, 5. Chapple, 6. Courtney, 7. Bell. 2:15.76
BENIC ENTERPRISES/INDY RACE PARTS THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Boat, 2. Bacon, 3. Macedo, 4. Coons, 5. Grant, 6. Greth, 7. Wood, 8. Gipson. 2:14.25
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Tanner Thorson, 3. Brady Bacon, 4. Chad Boat, 5. Holly Shelton, 6. Davey Ray, 7. Carson Macedo, 8. Ryan Robinson, 9. Jerry Coons Jr., 10. Dave Darland, 11. Andrew Felker, 12. Justin Grant, 13. Jake Neuman, 14. Isaac Chapple, 15. Jake Blackhurst, 16. Bear Wood, 17. Robert Bell, 18. Tyler Courtney, 19. Eric Hein, 20. Gary Gipson, 21. Ryan Greth, 22. Spencer Bayston, 23. Steve Buckwalter. NT
**DiMattia and Macedo flipped during qualifying.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Boat, Laps 2-25 Abreu.
KSE RACING PRODUCTS/LARRY RICE HIGH PERFORMANCE HARD CHARGER AWARD: Carson Macedo (23rd to 7th)
NEW USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS: 1-Bayston-947, 2-Boat-925, 3-Bacon-920, 4-Thorson-917, 5-Macedo-805, 6-Bryan Clauson-720, 7-Robinson-693, 8-Shellton-640, 9-Tyler Thomas-589, 10-Greth-493.
NEXT USAC MIDGET NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP RACES: October 6-7-8 - Granite City, IL - Tri-City Speedway - "Gold Crown Midget Nationals"
-USAC Press Release. Photo Credit: Paul Arch Photo