National Dirt
Wednesday, 19 August 2015


Rico Abreu (97) held off teammate Christopher Bell (71) to win Tuesday's Honda National Midget event at Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pennsylvania. Rico Abreu (97) held off teammate Christopher Bell (71) to win Tuesday's Honda National Midget event at Path Valley Speedway Park in Spring Run, Pennsylvania. Michael Fry Photo

Spring Run, Pennsylvania…..Rico Abreu was a welcome visitor to the Pennsylvania racing fans, and he made them happy with an entertaining win in Tuesday night’s return of the Honda Midget National Championship to the Keystone State at Path Valley Speedway Park. The 2014 series champion from Rutherford, California made it four wins on the year, as he held off his teammates in the 30-lapper aboard the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“It’s awesome to be out here and be able to win in front of fans like these. I’ve been really looking forward to this week racing on dirt in Pennsylvania, so hopefully I can win a few and have fun. It’s great to race hard like that with your teammates. Being the leader the last half of that race, you’re just not sure where to go. Christopher was dive-bombing me, but I didn’t know exactly how he was running. After he passed me, he went straight to the top of three and four right before the caution came out, so I knew that’s where he was running. Races play out that way sometimes. They worked in my favor tonight,” Abreu said of his 12th career National Midget win, which tied him for 53rd all-time among the group of Gene Force, Bobby Grim, Danny Caruthers, Jeff Gordon, Ron Shuman, Russ Gamester, and Kyle Larson.

Tracy Hines got the lead on the first corner as fellow front-row starter Nick Wean nearly spun out, but Tanner Thorson was flying to the front, just in time to lead the opening lap in the #67. Abreu moved to second on lap-two, but their teammate Christopher Bell had all eyes on him, as he came from the 13th starting spot. In just three laps, Bell was up to sixth.

A hectic pace early saw the four Kunz teammates find the top four spots, with Bell running the high side past Kevin Thomas, Jr. into third. Fellow row-seven starter Bryan Clauson was also on the move, as he was working into fifth on lap 13 when he slowed with electrical issues and brought out a caution.

Abreu made quick work of Thorson for the lead after the restart, and Thomas, Jr. was moving on the high side to challenge Thorson for second. On lap 15, the two made contact with Thorson spinning to bring out the second caution of the race.

Thomas, Jr. took advantage of the restart, moving in on Abreu for the lead, as the two were nearly even on lap 19 before Thomas threw a slider and led lap 20. Abreu came back at him and a duel for the lead looked to be coming, but a car spun near the back of the field to bring out the caution and revert back to eleven laps to go.

Now, it was Bell’s turn to be on the charge, as he got his momentum going around the high side and took second from Thomas, Jr. a couple laps later before cutting into Abreu’s lead. Bell went by Abreu for the lead on lap 25, but Abreu countered. Bell came at him again on lap 26, setting up a slider into turn-one on lap 27 to take the lead before a final caution appeared, this time for sixth-running Tyler Thomas, who broke a rear end.

With the lead returned to Abreu, he nailed the restart and was unchallenged over the final five laps to win by .852 seconds over Bell, who passed eleven cars to earn his second-place finish in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #71 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“I could really just go anywhere early in that race, and with some marbles in the middle of the track, they were going high and low so I just went through the middle. I found open lanes early and that helped get up through there. The yellows were so frustrating tonight. Just when I got my momentum or had a chance to pass for the lead and get away, there one would come. Hopefully they work out better for me next time,” Bell said.

Thomas, Jr. came home third and found himself back atop the series standings with the Bakken Concrete – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“I was searching early to find someplace to run, and then Bell railed me up high and I knew we had to get going. I showed Rico the top when I went by him, and the caution to put me back behind him hurt. I got a bad restart and lost that spot to Bell, and beyond that we were pretty close in speed. I hate saying it was a good points night, but we had a solid night, and our goal is to win a championship, ultimately. You have to take advantage of nights like these,” Thomas, Jr. said.

Spencer Bayston made a nice run from 11th to come home fourth in the Bryan Clauson Racing – Priority Aviation Services #39 Spike/Esslinger, and Jerry Coons, Jr. rounded out the top-five in the Heffner Racing Enterprises – #27 Triple X/Esslinger.

HONDA USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: August 18, 2015 – Spring Run, Pennsylvania – Path Valley Speedway Park

QUALIFYING: 1. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.422; 2. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.479; 3. Jerry Coons, Jr., 27, Heffner-11.549; 4. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.553; 5. Nick Wean, 78, Wean-11.615; 6. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-11.627; 7. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-11.674; 8. Billy Pauch, Jr., 28, DeGre-11.696; 9. Steven Drevicki, 19, Fitzpatrick/DeGre-11.706; 10. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-11.735; 11. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-11.756; 12. Alex Bright, 77, Hemler-11.768; 13. Spencer Bayston, 39, Clauson-11.780; 14. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-11.809; 15. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-11.866; 16. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-11.869; 17. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-11.889; 18. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT Racing-11.892; 19. Brett Wanner, 44, Wanner-11.897; 20. Jim Radney, 95, Radney-11.905; 21. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 83, Buckwalter-12.073; 22. Eric Heydenreich, 11, Heydenreich-12.075; 23. Tim Buckwalter, 52x, Buckwalter-12.080; 24. Brett Arndt, 46x, Arndt-12.102; 25. Shawn Jackson, 7, Jackson-12.132; 26. P.J. Gargiulo, 5, Gargiulo-12.210; 27. Tommy Kunsman, 21, Kunsman-12.295; 28. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-12.302; 29. Justin Grosz, 99G, Grosz-12.332; 30. Jamie Speers, 74, Speers-12.521; 31. Kenney Johnson, 46, Johnson-12.539.

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Wean, 2. Greth, 3. Thorson, 4. Bayston, 5. Drevicki, 6. B. Buckwalter, 7. Jackson, 8. Grosz. 2:02.96
SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. K. Thomas, 2. S. Buckwalter, 3. Kobylarz, 4. Hines, 5. Chapple, 6. Gargiulo, 7. Heydenreich, 8. Speers. 2:01.22

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Bell, 2. Coons, 3. T. Buckwalter, 4. T. Thomas, 5. B. Bright, 6. Wanner, 7. Johnson, 8. Kunsman. 1:59.61

FOURTH HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Clauson, 2. Abreu, 3. Pauch, 4. Arndt, 5. A. Bright, 6. DiMattia, 7. Radney. 2:00.69

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Drevicki, 2. A. Bright, 3. B. Bright, 4. B. Buckwalter, 5. Gargiulo, 6. Chapple, 7. Wanner, 8. Radney, 9. Jackson, 10. DiMattia, 11. Kunsman, 12. Speers, 13. Heydenreich. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Christopher Bell, 3. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 4. Spencer Bayston, 5. Jerry Coons, Jr., 6. Tracy Hines, 7. Billy Pauch, Jr., 8. Brenden Bright, 9. Tanner Thorson, 10. Steven Drevicki, 11. Ryan Greth, 12. Alex Bright, 13. Tim Buckwalter, 14. P.J. Gargiulo, 15. Brett Arndt, 16. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 17. Trevor Kobylarz, 18. Isaac Chapple, 19. Tyler Thomas, 20. Steve Buckwalter, 21. Nick Wean, 22. Bryan Clauson, 23. Jim Radney. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Thorson, Laps 14-30 Abreu.

NEW HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-K.Thomas Jr.-573, 2-Hines-564, 3-Abreu-518, 4-Thorson-497, 5-Bayston-475, 6-Coons-472, 7-T.Thomas-462, 8-Bell-381, 9-Darren Hagen-321, 10-Dave Darland-222.

NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: August 19 – Abbottstown, Pennsylvania – Lincoln Speedway