Rico Abreu dominated Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night at the 33rd Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, sweeping his heat race, qualifier, and feature at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma Wednesday.

 

As a two-time winner of the Chili Bowl driving for the Keith Kunz Motorsports operation that has won the last four runnings of the event, it was no surprise to see Abreu up front throughout the night.  Abreu cruised to the A Feature victory by nearly two seconds over World of Outlaws Sprint Cars standout David Gravel.

 

“My car was really good,” Abreu said on the RacinBoys.com broadcast from Wednesday’s qualifying night.  “Keith [Kunz] and I just worked on it all night.  We were a little snug, but I knew as the track developed it would come right to us.”

 

Abreu started second in the 25-lap A Feature alongside Cole Bodine, but quickly worked his way into the top spot and checked out on the competition.

 

“I hit three really good laps on the bottom and it shot me to the lead,” Abreu said.  “Then I went up top.  I could see David [Gravel] inching on the bottom, and I knew my entry speed into three wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be so I moved down.  My car really hooked off of four on the bottom.”

 

Between his past success and tonight’s triumphs, Abreu is plenty excited for Saturday’s Lucas Oil Championship Night after locking himself into the 55-lap A Feature to crown the next Chili Bowl champion.

 

“I have a really good car,” Abreu said.  “I’ve got the best in the business working on it, and I’m looking forward to Saturday.”

 

Gravel had paid the visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Chili Bowl on four previous occasions.  However, his runner-up finish on Wednesday night secured him his first main event appearance in the event, as the 39-time race winner with the World of Outlaws has found his comfort zone in Midgets.

 

“I’ve been confident all night,” Gravel said.  “This race car has been awesome.  To make the show is great.  I think this is my fifth Chili Bowl.

 

“It’s taken a while to get used to, but I feel at home here in Frank Manafort’s car,” Gravel added.  “I hope I can drive this car for a long time, and I hope we’ll just keep getting better every time we get on the track.  I’m excited that we’re locked in the show for Saturday.”

 

Cole Bodine just missed out on a transfer spot for Saturday’s A Feature but will have a strong starting position for a B Feature on Championship Night in his second Chili Bowl appearance.

 

Bodine admitted he felt some jitters going into the A Feature, but quickly settled down to take the final spot on the podium.

 

“Starting up there on the pole, there was a lot of nerves," Bodine said.  "Everybody was telling me run your own race, but that’s all I could do.  I fell back, but I knew I just needed to get myself together and maintain where I’m at.  A podium is unbelievable tonight, and this is really a dream come true for me.”

 

The 20-year-old from Rossville, Indiana is still gaining familiarity with his Clauson Marshall Racing entry, and hopes 2019 will bring him plenty of seat time, starting with a strong run Saturday.

 

“Getting up on that curb, I kept struggling and bringing the front-end over,” Bodine explained.  “That all comes with experience, not being able to run as much as I’d like.  Hopefully this year we’ll get some more time in the car and figure this stuff out a little bit better.”

 

-By Zach Evans, Speed51.com Southeast Editor – Twitter: @ztevans

-Photo Credit: RacinBoys.com

 

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals

River Spirit Expo Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Hard Rock Casino Qualifying Night Results

 

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [2]; 2. 76G-David Gravel, [4]; 3. 57C-Cole Bodine, [1]; 4. 68W-Jake Swanson, [17]; 5. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [7]; 6. 9-Tim McCreadie, [6]; 7. 87-Colby Copeland, [11]; 8. 67R-Ryan Smith, [23]; 9. 4D-Robert Dalby, [15]; 10. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [20]; 11. 52-Blake Hahn, [3]; 12. 43-Justin Peck, [19]; 13. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [10]; 14. 47-Alex Bright, [12]; 15. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 16. 9P-Tom Harris, [24]; 17. 54W-Matt Westfall, [18]; 18. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [22]; 19. 15M-Jason McDougal, [14]; 20. 67K-Holley Hollan, [13]; 21. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [16]; 22. (DNF) 91T-Tyler Thomas, [9]; 23. (DNF) 17-Chris Windom, [8]; 24. (DNF) 29A-Davey Ray, [21]

 

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 68W-Jake Swanson, [1]; 2. 43-Justin Peck, [7]; 3. 29A-Davey Ray, [9]; 4. 67R-Ryan Smith, [2]; 5. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [6]; 6. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [4]; 7. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [13]; 8. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [8]; 9. 96-Cody Brewer, [14]; 10. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [16]; 11. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [10]; 12. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [15]; 13. 13M-Dennis Gile, [5]; 14. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [11]; 15. 28-Kory Schudy, [3]; 16. (DNF) 17K-Michael Koontz, [12]

 

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 54W-Matt Westfall, [1]; 2. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [3]; 3. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [2]; 4. 9P-Tom Harris, [14]; 5. 31-Travis Berryhill, [6]; 6. 22E-Shane Stewart, [13]; 7. 91-Jeff Stasa, [4]; 8. 1L-Landon Simon, [9]; 9. 50-Daniel Adler, [8]; 10. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [15]; 11. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [7]; 12. 12-Billy Wease, [16]; 13. 19S-Matt Streeter, [11]; 14. 37X-Andrew Prather, [12]; 15. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [10]; 16. (DNF) 22X-Steven Shebester, [5]

 

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [1]; 2. 96-Cody Brewer, [7]; 3. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [2]; 4. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [9]; 5. 51G-Garet Williamson, [3]; 6. 22C-Conor Daly, [8]; 7. 8K-Robert Spino, [16]; 8. 35X-Tyler Robbins, [15]; 9. 87F-Johnny Kent, [4]; 10. 77J-John Klabunde, [13]; 11. 00S-Randy Sterling, [6]; 12. (DNF) 52K-John Dyson, [5]; 13. (DNF) 44S-Brian Beebe, [10]; 14. (DNF) 75X-Mike Griffiths, [14]; 15. (DNF) 78-Rob Caho Sr., [12]; (DNS) 50J-Brian Jones,

 

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 22E-Shane Stewart, [6]; 2. 9P-Tom Harris, [9]; 3. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [1]; 4. 12-Billy Wease, [4]; 5. 16-Joey Parker, [13]; 6. 14E-Jake Neal, [11]; 7. 16C-David Camfield III, [10]; 8. 21X-Landon Cassill, [8]; 9. 49J-Jim Gardner, [5]; 10. 5T-Presley Truedson, [16]; 11. 3JR-Jarrett Soares, [3]; 12. 9T-Tyler Shoemaker, [7]; 13. 45H-Anthony Pope, [2]; 14. 23P-Patrick Lawson, [12]; 15. (DNF) 2J-J.J. Yeley, [14]; (DNS) 7HM-Heath Murry,

 

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [1]; 2. 9-Tim McCreadie, [3]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 4. 15M-Jason McDougal, [4]; 5. 68W-Jake Swanson, [7]; 6. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [8]; 7. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [2]; 8. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [10]; 9. 28-Kory Schudy, [6]; 10. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [9]

 

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [3]; 2. 87-Colby Copeland, [2]; 3. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [5]; 4. 17-Chris Windom, [6]; 5. 91-Jeff Stasa, [1]; 6. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [4]; 7. 43-Justin Peck, [8]; 8. 29A-Davey Ray, [10]; 9. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [7]; 10. 17K-Michael Koontz, [9]

 

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 52-Blake Hahn, [3]; 2. 47-Alex Bright, [2]; 3. 91T-Tyler Thomas, [10]; 4. 67R-Ryan Smith, [1]; 5. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [4]; 6. 54W-Matt Westfall, [6]; 7. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [5]; 8. 50-Daniel Adler, [9]; 9. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [7]; 10. 19S-Matt Streeter, [8]

 

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 57C-Cole Bodine, [4]; 2. 67K-Holley Hollan, [2]; 3. 76G-David Gravel, [6]; 4. 4D-Robert Dalby, [3]; 5. 13M-Dennis Gile, [1]; 6. 22X-Steven Shebester, [7]; 7. 31-Travis Berryhill, [9]; 8. 1L-Landon Simon, [8]; 9. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [5]; 10. 37X-Andrew Prather, [10]

 

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 15M-Jason McDougal, [2]; 2. 52-Blake Hahn, [4]; 3. 4D-Robert Dalby, [6]; 4. 91T-Tyler Thomas, [1]; 5. 45H-Anthony Pope, [3]; 6. 11C-Chett Gehrke, [7]; 7. 16C-David Camfield III, [5]; (DNS) 7HM-Heath Murry, ; (DNS) 10K-Marvin Mitchell,

 

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 16K-Tristan Guardino, [2]; 2. 54W-Matt Westfall, [5]; 3. 1L-Landon Simon, [3]; 4. 92-Aaron Reutzel, [7]; 5. 3JR-Jarrett Soares, [1]; 6. 87F-Johnny Kent, [6]; 7. 78-Rob Caho Sr., [4]; (DNS) 35X-Tyler Robbins,

 

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 3F-Geoff Ensign, [2]; 2. 28-Kory Schudy, [8]; 3. 31-Travis Berryhill, [1]; 4. 91-Jeff Stasa, [7]; 5. 29A-Davey Ray, [6]; 6. 22E-Shane Stewart, [4]; 7. 8K-Robert Spino, [5]; 8. 75X-Mike Griffiths, [3]

 

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 57C-Cole Bodine, [2]; 2. 68W-Jake Swanson, [1]; 3. 08-Cannon McIntosh, [7]; 4. 3W-Brandon Waelti, [4]; 5. 57D-Daniel Robinson, [8]; 6. 52K-John Dyson, [5]; 7. (DNF) 9P-Tom Harris, [6]; (DQ) 2J-J.J. Yeley, [3]***No. 2J, Yeley, Disqualified for not allowing officials to tech fuel.

 

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 9-Tim McCreadie, [2]; 2. 76G-David Gravel, [5]; 3. 2X-Joe Stornetta Jr, [7]; 4. 4M-J.J. Ercse, [6]; 5. 51G-Garet Williamson, [3]; 6. 96-Cody Brewer, [4]; 7. 00S-Randy Sterling, [8]; 8. 77J-John Klabunde, [1]

 

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 87-Colby Copeland, [1]; 2. 67R-Ryan Smith, [2]; 3. 0B-Billy VanInwegen Jr, [6]; 4. 50-Daniel Adler, [5]; 5. 43-Justin Peck, [8]; 6. 9T-Tyler Shoemaker, [3]; 7. 21X-Landon Cassill, [7]; 8. (DNF) 50J-Brian Jones, [4]

 

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu, [2]; 2. 9F-Frankie Guerrini, [1]; 3. 7J-Shawn Jackson, [3]; 4. 67K-Holley Hollan, [8]; 5. 73K-Tyler Edwards, [4]; 6. 12-Billy Wease, [6]; 7. 14E-Jake Neal, [5]; 8. 23P-Patrick Lawson, [7]

 

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 17-Chris Windom, [3]; 2. 13M-Dennis Gile, [2]; 3. 51A-Zachary Madrid, [7]; 4. 37X-Andrew Prather, [1]; 5. 19S-Matt Streeter, [8]; 6. 49J-Jim Gardner, [5]; 7. (DNF) 44S-Brian Beebe, [6]; 8. (DNF) 16-Joey Parker, [4]

 

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 47-Alex Bright, [1]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell, [5]; 3. 17K-Michael Koontz, [2]; 4. 22X-Steven Shebester, [6]; 5. 2ND-Jeb Sessums, [4]; 6. 22C-Conor Daly, [3]; 7. 14S-Clinton Boyles, [7]; (DNS) 5T-Presley Truedson,

 

 

Two-Time Chili Bowl Champion Wins Wednesday Qualifier