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Rico Abreu Hits Pay Dirt on River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night


Chili Bowl Nationals

Rico Abreu Hits Pay Dirt on River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night

(Image Credit: Pat Grant)

TULSA, Okla. (January 13, 2016) It was almost Déjà vu as Rico Abreu came up Aces in Wednesday’s River Spirit Qualifying Night, topping action for the second time in as many years in his quest for the Golden Driller in the 30th running of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire.

“I believe last year that’s kind of how it went too. Started on the front row of my Heat and my Qualifier and won those. Started sixth in the feature, started sixth this year, so kind of a good spot as long as you win them,” commented Rico. “I feel like you have to win every time you are on the track here and tonight went really smooth.” Asked about his confidence of another Driller, Rico replied, “Anytime you lock into the A-Main on Saturday, you’ve got a lot of confidence. It’s a long race for Midget racing, just because we are used to 25-30 lap races so you have to kind of pace yourself throughout that feature and just be there at the last 10 laps.”

Gridding the field sixth, the California native wasted little time working to the front of the racing order, advancing to the runner-up spot by the second lap. Chasing Oklahoma’s Tyler Thomas, the pair began a game of Cat and Mouse for the top spot. Swapping lines at both ends of the Tulsa Expo Raceway several times, Thomas was successful at the block to hold Rico at bay as Thomas Meseraull trailed closely in third.

Slowed on Lap 12, the restart was the opportunity Abreu was looking for. Diving the bottom of turn one, the slide through turn two ended with the Keith Kunz Motorsports No. 97 on point.

Leaving Tyler Thomas to contend with Meseraull for the silver position, the pair dropped sliders on each other with neither giving an inch. Working silently into contention during all of this, 17th starting Parker Price-Miller joined the fight on Lap 19, taking the third spot away from Meseraull the following Lap.

Slowed on Lap 21 for a three car pileup, the restart saw Thomas glued to the back bumper of Abreu.

Side-by-side at the white flag, Thomas was close enough to take it, but the high side was where the run was for Rico. Rounding turn four however, the caution flew again as Colby Copeland and Sammy Swindell tangled at the start/finish line.

This time, the restart was all about Abreu as Rico was able to put a 0.845 second margin between himself and Tyler Thomas.

Even with a runner-up finish, Thomas was on cloud-nine, “I’m almost speechless. You know, fourth try at the Chili Bowl and we had a really good car all night and got plenty of passing points early on. I think we were just too good, too early in the feature. I felt like we were on a string the first 10 laps or so and it just got tight there midway to the end on the cushion. I had to try the bottom out, but Rico drove a great race on the top.”

Taking full advantage of the final restart, Thomas Meseraull reclaimed the final transfer into Saturday’s A-Feature.

“Everyone goes to the bottom, I hammer the top. End of story,” was the reply by Thomas on his last lap pass to regain the transfer spot. Without a ride a week ago, and in Australia; Meseraull was a last minute addition for Mark Bush Motorsports.

“Mark Bush’s cars are awesome. He’s my buddy and the last two times I drove it, I’d just went through a divorce and didn’t give in my best and turned it over on the berm. It was pretty awesome to come back and give him my best and actually get up on the wheel.”

Parker Price-Miller was the night’s hard charger with a fourth place finish with Austin Brown completed the top-five.

Chase Stockon crossed sixth in the Tony Elliott Memorial Fund No. 5s with Blake Hahn seventh. After serving a two spot penalty for passing before the cone on the Lap 12 restart, Jake Swanson came from 16th to eighth with Brendon Bright charging from 21st to ninth. The top-ten rounded out with Alex Sewell.

Wednesday’s River Spirit Qualifying Night saw 81 drivers draw in to bring the week’s total to 116 drivers. The flip count rose to 20 with all drivers able to walk away.

The 30th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire continues on Thursday, January 14, 2016 with John Christner Trucking serving as the title sponsor of the day's festivities. Complete driver roster, times, and other information can be found at


Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway - Tulsa, Okla.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night

Car Count: 81
Event Count: 166

Budweiser Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 69-A.J. Fike[2]; 2. 91-Jeff Stasa[3]; 3. 21M-Michele Melton[4]; 4. 5S-Chase Stockon[8]; 5. 32-Casey Shuman[5]; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell[6]; 7. 27K-Billy Lawhead[1]; 8. 43-Logan Arnold[7]; 9. 5R-John Ricketts[9]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 55D-Nick Drake[1]; 2. 92-Brenden Bright[6]; 3. 66-Shane Cockrum[2]; 4. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[8]; 5. 11XS-Donovan Peterson[4]; 6. 29-Garrett Saunders[7]; 7. 27B-A.J. Bruns[3]; 8. (DNF) 11R-Ariel Biggs[5]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[1]; 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas[8]; 3. 8-Alex Sewell[7]; 4. 44-Don Droud Jr[4]; 5. 14H-Harley Hollan[3]; 6. 50-Daniel Adler[2]; 7. 7F-Josh Tyre[6]; 8. (DNF) 25J-Alex Schriever[5]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 39C-Payton Pierce[5]; 2. 73-Jason McDougal[4]; 3. 37X-Anton Hernandez[8]; 4. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[2]; 5. 5H-Tyson Hall[7]; 6. 2W-Wyatt Burks[6]; 7. (DNF) 56-Billy Wease[1]; 8. (DNF) 17W-Justin Henderson[3]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 57D-Daniel Robinson[3]; 2. 3S-Brian Shirley[4]; 3. 11F-Darin Snyder[2]; 4. 11-Tyler Courtney[7]; 5. 56Y-Jeremy McCune[6]; 6. 35W-Nate Wait[8]; 7. 77J-John Klabunde[5]; 8. 83-Kurt Blackaby[1]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 99W-Larry Wight[8]; 2. 8K-Blake Hahn[2]; 3. 7CH-Chris (Critter) Malone[5]; 4. 75-Johnny Herrera[7]; 5. 13-Derek Hagar[3]; 6. 27R-Kyle O'Gara[6]; 7. (DNF) 12-Chris Sheil[1]; 8. (DNF) 7S-Pat Schudy[4]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 17D-Alex DeCamp[5]; 2. 91N-Austin Nemire[3]; 3. 21S-Johnny Brown[1]; 4. 21A-Taylor Courtney[8]; 5. 8M-Kade Morton[4]; 6. 69J-Jeromy Hefler[2]; 7. 14B-Riley Adair[7]; 8. 118-Scott Evans[6]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 9$-Kyle Clark[2]; 2. 6K-Josh Lakatos[3]; 3. 7J-Shawn Jackson[1]; 4. 41P-Austin Prock[6]; 5. 35B-T.J. Smith[7]; 6. 21H-Harlan Hulsey[5]; 7. 51R-Matt Rossi[4]; 8. 4D-Shane Sellers[8]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 7B-Austin Brown[3]; 2. 05T-Gary Taylor[4]; 3. 1T-Tony Roney[5]; 4. 11B-Travis Berryhill[8]; 5. 22R-Eric Heydenreich[6]; 6. 3BX-Aaron Pierce[2]; 7. (DNF) 4F-Chad Frewaldt[7]; 8. (DNF) 11H-Chase Hill[1]

Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. 2X-Thomas Meseraull[2]; 2. 68W-Jake Swanson[4]; 3. 25-Steve Buckwalter[8]; 4. 51X-Colby Copeland[5]; 5. 23A-Hannah Adair[1]; 6. 7-Shannon McQueen[6]; 7. 70K-Kevin Olson[3]; 8. 16C-David Camfield Jr[7]

D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature.

D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 11H-Chase Hill[8]; 2. 27K-Billy Lawhead[4]; 3. 70K-Kevin Olson[2]; 4. 51R-Matt Rossi[1]; 5. 17W-Justin Henderson[7]; 6. 12-Chris Sheil[5]; 7. 7S-Pat Schudy[6]; 8. 43-Logan Arnold[3]; 9. (DNF) 25J-Alex Schriever[9]

D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 56-Billy Wease[4]; 2. 16C-David Camfield Jr[3]; 3. 118-Scott Evans[5]; 4. 5R-John Ricketts[6]; 5. 4D-Shane Sellers[2]; 6. 27B-A.J. Bruns[1]; DNS 83-Kurt Blackaby; DNS 11R-Ariel Biggs

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 44-Don Droud Jr[1]; 2. 2W-Wyatt Burks[7]; 3. 14H-Harley Hollan[5]; 4. 23A-Hannah Adair[6]; 5. 27K-Billy Lawhead[14]; 6. 22R-Eric Heydenreich[2]; 7. 11H-Chase Hill[13]; 8. 7-Shannon McQueen[8]; 9. (DNF) 14B-Riley Adair[11]; 10. (DNF) 11XS-Donovan Peterson[4]; 11. (DNF) 21H-Harlan Hulsey[9]; 12. (DNF) 69J-Jeromy Hefler[10]; 13. (DNF) 7F-Josh Tyre[12]; 14. (DNF) 35W-Nate Wait[3]

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[2]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell[6]; 3. 13-Derek Hagar[5]; 4. 50-Daniel Adler[9]; 5. 56-Billy Wease[13]; 6. 27R-Kyle O'Gara[7]; 7. 8M-Kade Morton[4]; 8. 32-Casey Shuman[3]; 9. 16C-David Camfield Jr[14]; 10. 77J-John Klabunde[12]; 11. 3BX-Aaron Pierce[10]; 12. (DNF) 4F-Chad Frewaldt[11]; 13. (DNF) 56Y-Jeremy McCune[1]; 14. (DNF) 29-Garrett Saunders[8]

Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature.

Q1 (10 Laps): 1. 7B-Austin Brown[4]; 2. 73-Jason McDougal[3]; 3. 8-Alex Sewell[7]; 4. 11-Tyler Courtney[8]; 5. 11B-Travis Berryhill[1]; 6. 92-Brenden Bright[5]; 7. 99W-Larry Wight[6]; 8. 41P-Austin Prock[9]; 9. 55D-Nick Drake[2]; 10. 21S-Johnny Brown[10]

Q2 (10 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[2]; 2. 69-A.J. Fike[4]; 3. 39C-Payton Pierce[6]; 4. 91-Jeff Stasa[1]; 5. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 6. 75-Johnny Herrera[8]; 7. 37X-Anton Hernandez[5]; 8. 66-Shane Cockrum[9]; 9. 7CH-Chris (Critter) Malone[7]; 10. 7J-Shawn Jackson[10]

Q3 (10 Laps): 1. 5S-Chase Stockon[2]; 2. 05T-Gary Taylor[3]; 3. 8K-Blake Hahn[8]; 4. 25-Steve Buckwalter[5]; 5. 17D-Alex DeCamp[6]; 6. 91N-Austin Nemire[1]; 7. 5H-Tyson Hall[10]; 8. 1T-Tony Roney[7]; 9. 11F-Darin Snyder[9]; 10. (DNF) 9$-Kyle Clark[4]

Q4 (10 Laps): 1. 2X-Thomas Meseraull[4]; 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas[6]; 3. 68W-Jake Swanson[3]; 4. 51X-Colby Copeland[9]; 5. 57D-Daniel Robinson[5]; 6. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[7]; 7. 6K-Josh Lakatos[1]; 8. 21M-Michele Melton[8]; 9. 21A-Taylor Courtney[2]; 10. (DNF) 35B-T.J. Smith[10]

B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 51X-Colby Copeland[1]; 2. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[5]; 3. 92-Brenden Bright[2]; 4. 9$-Kyle Clark[10]; 5. 1T-Tony Roney[7]; 6. 37X-Anton Hernandez[4]; 7. 5H-Tyson Hall[6]; 8. 44-Don Droud Jr[13]; 9. 3S-Brian Shirley[3]; 10. 21M-Michele Melton[8]; 11. 14H-Harley Hollan[15]; 12. 11F-Darin Snyder[11]; 13. 7CH-Chris (Critter) Malone[9]; 14. 7J-Shawn Jackson[12]; 15. (DNF) 2W-Wyatt Burks[14]; 16. (DNF) 23A-Hannah Adair[16]

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 6K-Josh Lakatos[6]; 2. 57D-Daniel Robinson[1]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell[14]; 4. 50-Daniel Adler[16]; 5. 75-Johnny Herrera[3]; 6. 91N-Austin Nemire[5]; 7. 66-Shane Cockrum[8]; 8. 21S-Johnny Brown[11]; 9. 21A-Taylor Courtney[10]; 10. 55D-Nick Drake[9]; 11. (DNF) 11B-Travis Berryhill[4]; 12. (DNF) 41P-Austin Prock[7]; 13. (DNF) 91-Jeff Stasa[2]; 14. (DNF) 13-Derek Hagar[15]; 15. (DNF) 1ST-J.J. Yeley[13]; 16. (DNF) 35B-T.J. Smith[12]

A-Feature: Top 3 advance to Saturday's A-Feature.

A Feature 1 (25 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[6]; 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas[1]; 3. 2X-Thomas Meseraull[4]; 4. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[19]; 5. 7B-Austin Brown[2]; 6. 5S-Chase Stockon[7]; 7. 8K-Blake Hahn[8]; 8. 68W-Jake Swanson[16]; 9. 92-Brenden Bright[21]; 10. 8-Alex Sewell[9]; 11. 50-Daniel Adler[24]; 12. 25-Steve Buckwalter[13]; 13. 17D-Alex DeCamp[12]; 14. 6K-Josh Lakatos[18]; 15. 57D-Daniel Robinson[20]; 16. 05T-Gary Taylor[11]; 17. 69-A.J. Fike[5]; 18. 1-Sammy Swindell[22]; 19. (DNF) 51X-Colby Copeland[17]; 20. (DNF) 11-Tyler Courtney[14]; 21. (DNF) 73-Jason McDougal[10]; 22. (DNF) 39C-Payton Pierce[3]; 23. (DNF) 99W-Larry Wight[15]; 24. (DNF) 9$-Kyle Clark[23]

Lap Leaders: Tyler Thomas 1-12; Rico Abreu 13-25
Hard Charger: Parker Price-Miller +15

Submitted By: Bryan Hulbert

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