ABREU ASSAULTS SUN PRAIRIE CUSHION TO FIRST USAC NATIONAL MIDGET WIN
Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.…..Rico Abreu of Rutherford, California had experienced heartbreak in pursuit of his first Honda National Midget win, but things changed on Sunday night at Angell Park Speedway as he ventured to the high side of a heavy track to lock down the 30-lap "Sue Thiel Memorial."
Abreu was the polesitter and jumped to the early lead, but after a quick caution, Tracy Hines moved underneath to the steal the lead on lap five. Caleb Armstrong jumped above the cushion and joined the battle for the top spot, roaring by on the outside on lap seven. His stay at the front was short-lived, as his mount lost power and retired from the event on lap eleven.
On the restart, Abreu assumed the lead but it was Hines again jumping in front. Another caution at halfway slowed the lead duo as Darren Hagen moved past Andrew Felker for the third spot.
With just nine laps to go, the final caution appeared and set up a crucial restart. Abreu again went above the cushion when the green appeared, flying by Hines for the lead and stretching out a big lead as he flirted with disaster. After bicycling a couple times, he moved back down to run the cushion and register a .843-second victory in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“It’s been a tough couple weeks, especially with losing my friend Jason Leffler. We won it tonight on the gas and up in the cushion, the way I like to run, and the way he liked to run. I’m proud to win my first USAC race that way. This track suits my style, with that cushion just getting taller and taller. I had to pack it down up there during the yellow, and finally just had to go up there and make it happen. I ran up there as long as I could before it started getting too tricky, so I moved down to the cushion. This track is just so tough, but I love it,” Abreu said.
In the closing laps, Hagen followed Abreu on the high side to wrestle second away from Hines, stretching out a big advantage over the rest of the field to finish as the runner-up in the RFMS Racing – Liberty Village #3 DRC/Esslinger.
“We were really planning to run the bottom, but after seeing Caleb Armstrong up above the cushion, we started moving around and got going up on the top. It was a great night. I think if cautions would have fallen our way – we had Rico once and a yellow came out – we could have had a shot to win it. It’s really cool to see him win his first one; it’s been coming a while,” Hagen said.
Hines wound up third in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.
“I was trying to make him run my race, and we had him in a good spot until that last yellow came out. The bottom had lost a little bit, and obviously he was good up in the cushion,” Hines said.
Jerry Coons, Jr. rallied from tenth to finish fourth in the Joe Dooling – Westin Packaged Meats #63 Spike/Esslinger, and Andrew Felker rounded out the top-five in the 66 Truck & Salvage – Auto Express #11A Spike/Fontana.
HONDA USAC NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE RESULTS: June 23, 2013 – Sun Prairie, Wisconsin – Angell Park Speedway (co-sanctioned by POWRi and BMARA)
QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Caleb Armstrong, 7c, C&A-14.324; 2. Darren Hagen, 3, RFMS-14.337; 3. Casey Shuman, 57, Ecker-14.377; 4. Andrew Felker, 11A, Felker-14.394; 5. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.417; 6. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-14.428; 7. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.486; 8. Rico Abreu, 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-14.514; 9. Bryan Clauson, 39, Tucker/BCI/Curb-Agajanian-14.570; 10. Alex Bright, 27, RW/Curb-Agajanian-14.584; 11. Jerry Coons, Jr., 63, Dooling-14.600; 12. Scott Hatton, 1, Hatton-14.657; 13. Brad Kuhn, 10, Cook-14.657; 14. Austin Brown, 7, KBR-14.730; 15. Jake Blackhurst, 25, Blackhurst-14.797; 16. Taylor Ferns, 55, Ferns-14.806; 17. Cody Weisensel, 20, Weisensel-14.872; 18. Danny Stratton, 2s, Lein-14.909; 19. Zach Daum, 5D, Daum-14.923; 20. Dalton Armstrong, 7A, C&A-14.938; 21. Chase Stockon, 11, Wilke-14.968; 22. Dave Darland, 2, Lein-15.047; 23. Bryon Walters, 5, Walters-15.079; 24. Tyler Thomas, 2T, Lein-15.113; 25. Mike Hess, 1H, Hardy-15.210; 26. Brandon Waelti, 51, Huston-15.320; 27. Terry Babb, 88, Babb-NT.
FIRST HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Ferns, 2. Felker, 3. Daum, 4. Bright, 5. C. Armstrong, 6. Thorson, 7. Darland, 8. Hess, 9. Kuhn. 2:29.87
SECOND HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Brown, 3. Hagen, 4. Abreu, 5. Waelti, 6. Bell, 7. Walters, 8. D. Armstrong, 9. Weisensel. 2:28.42
THIRD HEAT : (10 laps) 1. Hatton, 2. Hines, 3. Clauson, 4. Stratton, 5. Shuman, 6. Blackhurst, 7. Stockon, 8. Thomas. 2:33.61
SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Kuhn, 2. Thorson, 3. Blackhurst, 4. D. Armstrong, 5. Darland, 6. Hess, 7. Thomas, 8. Bell, 9. Stockon, 10. Weisensel, 11. Walters. 3:02.59
FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Darren Hagen, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Jerry Coons, Jr., 5. Andrew Felker, 6. Alex Bright, 7. Bryan Clauson, 8. Tanner Thorson, 9. Christopher Bell, 10. Austin Brown, 11. Brad Kuhn, 12. Dave Darland, 13. Zach Daum, 14. Brandon Waelti, 15. Tyler Thomas, 16. Mike Hess, 17. Jake Blackhurst, 18. Dalton Armstrong, 19. Danny Stratton, 20. Casey Shuman, 21. Taylor Ferns, 22. Scott Hatton, 23. Caleb Armstrong, 24. Chase Stockon. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-4 Abreu, Laps 5-6 Hines, Laps 7-10 C. Armstrong, Laps 11-21 Hines, Laps 22-30 Abreu.
NEW HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET POINTS: 1-Bell-323; 2-Clauson-309; 3-Hagen-285; 4-Felker-280; 5-Coons-271; 6-Hines-251; 7-Abreu-250; 8-Daum-230; 9-C.Armstrong-229; 10-Kuhn-208.
NEXT HONDA NATIONAL DIRT MIDGET RACE: July 3 – Pontoon Beach, Illinois – Tri-City Speedway – “Hut Hundred” (co-sanctioned by POWRi)