ABREU OPENS ELDORA "4-CROWN" WITH HONDA DIRT MIDGET WIN
Rossburg, Ohio........Rico Abreu continued what has been a dream season for himself and his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports team as he came out on top of a torrid battle with his teammate Chris Bell to win Saturday's Honda National Dirt Midget portion of the "4-Crown Nationals" at Eldora Speedway.
Bryan Clauson jumped to the early lead and looked to be the man to beat in the opening laps, as Abreu was on the move from sixth to second in the first five laps. As Abreu and Bell came forward and brought RFMS Racing teammates Darren Hagen and Chris Windom with them, leader Clauson slowed coming off turn-two and pulled to the infield.
With Clauson no longer in the mix, the lead duo of Abreu and Bell took center stage, with Bell getting more and more comfortable in his first time at the famed Ohio half-mile. By halfway in the 25-lapper, Bell caught his teammate and threw a slide-job on him into turn-one, but Abreu was not a bit rattled as he crossed over to retain the lead.
After a yellow with ten laps to go for Hagen, who stopped on the backstretch, the battle resumed with Bell again trying a slider into turn-one for the lead. Abreu was up to the task each time, however, and Bell's final attempt to slide in front for the lead on lap 23 came up short and Abreu pulled out to a large advantage. He was flawless over the final two laps to win comfortably in his Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports - Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota. He also set ProSource "Fast Time" to begin the night.
"Winning here, and after winning at Belleville too this year, is huge. Big-track midget racing is a blast, gotta keep your momentum and cut good laps. Racing Christopher was so much fun. I saw him coming on the board, and I knew I had to get up on the wheel to hold on. I didn't want to take the chance of driving around the outside of him when he slid in, so I was trying to be patient and turn back down under him each time. After he didn't clear me all the way on his last try, and I knew that kinda sealed the deal," Abreu said.
Bell padded his series point lead with the runner-up finish in his Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports - Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
Tracy Hines made a late charge to round out the podium in the Parker Machinery - Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota, just clearing Bobby East in the final laps, who wound up fourth in the Klatt Motorsports - East Enterprises #4 Beast/Chevy. Dave Darland rebounded from early issues bouncing him deep in the field to salvage fifth in the CML Security - Fontana Automotive #17 Beast/Fontana.
Another first-time Eldora competitior, Tanner Thorson rounded out the Kunz/Curb-Agajanian stable by driving from 13th to finish 6th in his #67, garnering the "Larry Rice High Performance Award" for his hard-charging effort.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: September 21, 2013 – Rossburg, Ohio – Eldora Speedway – 32nd “4-Crown Nationals”
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Rico Abreu, 67k, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-16.441; 2. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-16.476; 3. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-16.523; 4. Dave Darland, 17, RW/Curb-Agajanian-16.534; 5. Bryan Clauson, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-16.570; 6. Bobby East, 4, Klatt-16.587; 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 63, Dooling-16.607; 8. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-16.665; 9. Brad Kuhn, 10, Cook-16.667; 10. Brady Bacon, 5, Wilke-Pak-16.709; 11. Dalton Armstrong, 7a, C & A-16.775; 12. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C & A-16.831; 13. Chris Windom, 3F, RFMS-16.843; 14. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-16.873; 15. Alex Bright, 77, Hemler-16.973; 16. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-17.128; 17. Shane Cockrum, 14c, Cockrum-17.135; 18. Justin Grosz, 99, Grosz-17.620; 19. Stratton Briggs, 10B, SBM-17.707; 20. Kellen Conover, 76, Conover-19.073.
FIRST HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Thorson, 2. Abreu, 3. Coons, 4. Darland, 5. Cockrum, 6. D.Armstrong, 7. Conover. 2:21.11
SECOND HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Clauson, 3. Hines, 4. C.Armstrong, 5. Bright, 6. Grosz. NT
THIRD HEAT : (8 laps) 1. Windom, 2. Bacon, 3. Hagen, 4. East, 5. Ferns, 6. Briggs. 2:17.32
FEATURE: (25 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Christopher Bell, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Bobby East, 5. Dave Darland, 6. Tanner Thorson, 7. Jerry Coons Jr., 8. Alex Bright, 9. Darren Hagen, 10. Caleb Armstrong, 11. Taylor Ferns, 12. Shane Cockrum, 13. Stratton Briggs, 14. Dalton Armstrong, 15. Chris Windom, 16. Brady Bacon, 17. Bryan Clauson, 18. Kellen Conover. NT
**Kuhn flipped during qualifying.
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-6 Clauson, Laps 7-25 Abreu.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-737, 2-Clauson-663, 3-Hines-661, 4-Coons-612, 5-Hagen-589, 6-Abreu-536, 7-Andrew Felker-531, 8-Zach Daum-491, 9-Thorson-469, 10-Kuhn-416.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: October 3-5 – Pontoon Beach, IL – Tri-City Speedway – “Gold Crown Midget Nationals”