Abreu Marches To I-55 POWRi Triumph

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Rico Abreu (97) battles past C.J. Leary on Friday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk Photo)
Rico Abreu (97) battles past C.J. Leary on Friday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. (Mark Funderburk Photo)

PEVELY, Mo. – Earning his 11th POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League victory on Friday night, Rico Abreu did so in jaw-dropping fashion at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.

Driving from 14th to first in 15 laps, Abreu put on a clinic as he marched through the field and then ran away in the second half for a dominating triumph at the Missouri third-mile.

While Abreu took the green flag from the outside of the seventh row, it was Zach Daum and C.J. Leary pacing the field out front.

Flying flat out into turn one, Leary accepted the early lead while Daum settled into second and the 30-lapper started to shake out. A lap five stoppage for an upside down, top-five running Noah Gass halted the field and shined the spotlight on Abreu, who had already stormed from 14th to seventh in five laps.

While Leary maintained control out front, all eyes turned to the war for the runner-up spot as Jesse Colwell launched a lap ten slider on Daum and brought Abreu along with him. The trio of Colwell, Daum and Abreu went head-to-head swapping spots, switching lines and trading blows for several laps before a lap 11 caution bunched them back up.

Taking advantage of the break, Abreu regrouped and immediately went back on the attack as the green flag flew again. Nailing the turns one and two cushion, Abreu rocketed around Colwell to secure third and wasted no time pouncing on Daum, tossing a bomb-like slide job from the backstretch into turn three as he stole that spot away too.

A lap 14 break for an upside-down Austin O’Dell gave fans just what they wanted to see, a restart with the hard-charging Abreu right on Leary’s back bumper. Gassing it right away and making his move, Abreu attacked with a turn one slider, but Leary proved ready and crossed him over.

Again, Abreu launched the three-story slider at Leary into turn three and the duo raced side-by-side down the front stretch with the cross flags waving and Abreu ahead by a nose. Racing wheel-to-wheel into turn one, Abreu edged Leary into the corner and drifted to the cushion before powering off and running away with the lead.

Going unchallenged from there, Abreu led the final 16 laps aboard his Keith Kunz Motorsports Bullet/Toyota No. 97 and locked down his 11th POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League win in dominant fashion.

Colwell ended up with a runner-up finish, extending his series points lead into the second half of the season. After controlling the opening half of the race, Leary faded to third. Daum and Tyler Thomas completed the top-five.

The finish:

1. 97-Rico Abreu (14); 2. 71-Jesse Colwell (9); 3. 21KS-C.J. Leary (2); 4. 5D-Zach Daum (1); 5. 91T-Tyler Thomas (10); 6. 08-Cannon McIntosh (3); 7. 9-Daison Pursley (6); 8. 67-Holley Hollan (22); 9. 28-Ace McCarthy (16); 10. 97K-Jesse Love (7); 11. 72-Sam Johnson (17); 12. 44S-Andrew Felker (11); 13. 3B-Shelby Bosie (18); 14. 7S-Pat Schudy (19); 15. 5-Danny Frye (20); 16. 97A-Austin O’Dell (15); 17. 50-Daniel Adler (12); 18. 37-Karter Sarff (4); 19. 2H-Luke Howard (23); 20. 20G-Noah Gass (8); 21. 3N-Jake Neuman (5); 22. 7M-Chance Morton (13).

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