ROSSBURG, Ohio — Rico Abreu led the final 24 laps of Friday‘s BeFour The Crowns Showdown at Eldora Speedway to claim his first World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory in four years.
Bound and determined to overcome the agony of 105 consecutive losses, the St. Helena, Calif., native fended off a fury of four different challengers — Spencer Bayston, Brad Sweet, Donny Schatz and James McFadden during the 30-lap affair.
After sliding past Bayston on lap six, the 30-year-old fan favorite never relinquished the lead but could feel the full-time Outlaws breathing down his neck the whole time.
Friday’s win not only brought Abreu back to NOS Energy Drink Victory Lane for the first time since September 8, 2018, but it also marked his first World of Outlaws win since the offseason addition of eventual Hall of Fame Crew Chief, Ricky Warner.
“This is a huge confidence booster,” Abreu said. “As race car drivers, you become so hard on yourself through these slumps inconsistencies. We built another new team this year and I’m just so thankful to have Ricky Warner in my corner. He makes any driver look outstanding. The chemistry in our team is showing, it’s just awesome to be with such a great group.”
Abreu is now a four-time winner of Eldora’s #4Crown Nationals, adding a World of Outlaws win with an All Stars triumph and pair of USAC National Midget victories.
Beating The Outlaws
“Standing up here against the World of Outlaws is what it’s all about,” Abreu added. “Everything we do here is learning, practicing, and collecting data for when the Crown Jewel races come back in the summer. I never, ever thought in a million years that I would win a race on the bottom at Eldora Speedway, but that shows how comfortable my car is right now. These guys made some last-minute adjustments before we pushed off, and they nailed it.”
Falling short by 1.051 seconds at the checkered flag, McFadden collected his fourth runner-up result of the year and 10th podium finish since joining Roth Motorsports.
“I was pounding the top so hard right there,” J-Mac said with a big grin. “That’s why I come to Eldora, it’s such a blast. I actually got through to the front on the bottom, but the top was coming in during that last run so I just started hitting it harder and harder. I’m happy with a second-place tonight because I know it’ll come to us if we keep putting ourselves in a position to win.”
Rounding out the podium after briefly challenging for the lead on the final restart was Schatz aboard the Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing, Ford Performance, Carquest Auto Parts No. 15.
“We just needed to better at the end, and that’s a recurring problem for us,” Schatz said. “We could kind of hang for three-to-five laps, but then I would just stall out. All I could do at that point was run the win back, keep the tires under it, and hang on. Rico didn’t make any mistakes tonight, so hats off to him. We’ll keep plugging away.”
Feature (30 Laps) — 1. 24-Rico Abreu [$10,000]; 2. 83-James McFadden [$6,000]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [$3,500]; 4. 49-Brad Sweet [$2,800]; 5. 41-Carson Macedo [$2,500]; 6. 1A-Jacob Allen [$2,300]; 7. 5-Spencer Bayston [$2,200]; 8. 13-Justin Peck [$2,100]; 9. 1S-Logan Schuchart [$2,050]; 10. 8-Aaron Reutzel [$2,000]; 11. 2-David Gravel [$1,600]; 12. 11X-Buddy Kofoid [$1,400]; 13. 11K-Kraig Kinser [$1,200]; 14. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [$1,100]; 15. 11-Logan Seavey [$1,050]; 16. 9-Kasey Kahne [$1,000]; 17. 21H-Brady Bacon [$1,000]; 18. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [$1,000]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [$1,000]; 20. 1M-Landon Myers [$1,000]; 21. 7S-Robbie Price [$]; 22. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [$1,000]; 23. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [$1,000]; 24. 26-Zeb Wise [$1,000]; 25. 5TX-Travis Philo [$1,000].