National Dirt
Thursday, 20 August 2015


Rico Abreu Rico Abreu Rich Forman Photo

Abbottstown, Pennsylvania……Rico Abreu wowed the Lincoln Speedway crowd with a late-race charge to steal the lead from Bryan Clauson on Lap 29, taking his second-straight Honda National Midget win on the Pennsylvania swing on Wednesday night.

Jerry Coons, Jr. grabbed the lead from outside the front-row as everyone scrambled behind him for top-five positions, with Abreu slicing from row-three to second, ahead of Clauson. After an early caution, Clauson moved by Abreu for second. The race’s middle section staged a duel for the lead between Coons and Clauson, while Abreu fought his teammate Christopher Bell for third.

As they approached traffic, Clauson snuck under Coons for the lead on Lap 14. Coons was not done, though, and he came right back after Clauson, taking the lead on Lap 16 as they split a lapped car off turn-two. He marched away with the lead while Clauson fell into the clutches of Bell, who darted by him for second on Lap 20, just before a caution flew for Tanner Thorson, who flattened a tire running fifth. That reverted back a lap, so Clauson restarted second with 11 to go.

Clauson shadowed Coons inside the final ten laps as Abreu and Bell continued their battle for third, with Abreu up high and Bell down against the guardrail. With six laps to go, Bell spun to the inside in turn-four, setting up a final run to the checkers with Coons leading Clauson and Abreu.

Coons ran the bottom on the restart before moving up to the top of turn-one on lap 25, holding his lead over Clauson. As they completed that lap, Clauson had a run and hit the high side of turn-one as Coons tried to hit the bottom, with the first sounds of trouble under the hood of the Heffner #27 spelling doom for Coons.

Clauson appeared to have things under control, but Abreu had gotten his momentum up on the high side and ran him down as they came to two-to-go. Abreu went to the outside of Clauson in an all-out drag race to the turn-one cushion, with Clauson sliding up just behind Abreu and through the cushion, giving Abreu a healthy advantage as he raced away. It ended up a .580-second advantage for Abreu, who made it five wins on the season and 13 for his career, tying Don Meacham, Stevie Reeves, Steve Knepper, and Ryan Newman for 49th on the all-time list.

Abreu stopped on the fronstretch in front of a loud Lincoln Speedway crowd to celebrate his win in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD #97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.

“I knew he would hear me eventually up there, but I was making sure when I got to him that I would be gone fast enough. Bryan moved back down after he got Jerry, and I just got a couple really perfect laps up there where I didn’t get up too high and into any loose stuff. I knew it was tricky down low; we were having trouble keeping it where it needed to be. You could really hammer it up top there when it cleaned off and got wide, and that was about as fun as it gets at the end. He is a clean racer and left me just enough room for us to get through there. It’s awesome to be out here and have that crowd reaction; it makes this whole trip worthwhile to see these tracks and race in front of such great fans,” Abreu said.

Clauson, who set the night’s ProSource “Fast Time” to break Parnelli Jones’ track record in the only previous USAC Midget visit back in 1964, finished second in the Dooling Machine – Jonathan Byrd’s Racing #63 Spike/Stanton Mopar, looking a bit surprised and obviously dejected at the turn of events in the closing laps.

“I guess sometimes you make the wrong decision and end up getting beat, and that’s pretty much how tonight went. I felt like I was working awfully hard up top to get by Jerry, so after I went by him, I guess I left the door open for him to get me. It was a lot of fun racing with Jerry, and it’s cool to come to a place like this and show them what midget racing is all about,” Clauson said.

Tracy Hines made a late charge to take over third after starting eighth in the Parker Machinery – Turbines, Inc. #24 Spike/Stanton Toyota.

“I saw Rico go to the top, so I jumped up there too and it got us up to third. We got into that crash in the heat race, and had to play catch-up from there for the rest of the night. We probably left a little on the table with the car with replacing other parts and an issue with a bleeder during the B. We got it all fixed and ready, so it was a good run from there,” Hines said.

National Midget point leader Kevin Thomas, Jr. came from tenth to finish fourth in the Bakken Concrete – Toyota TRD #67K Bullet/Speedway Toyota, and Alex Bright charged from 12th to round out the top-five in the Action Track USA – PXP Racewear #77 Elite/Fontana.

HONDA USAC NATIONAL MIDGET RACE RESULTS: August 19, 2015 – Abbottstown, Pennsylvania – Lincoln Speedway

QUALIFYING: 1. Bryan Clauson, 63, RKR/Curb-Agajanian-15.804 (New Track Record); 2. Rico Abreu, 97, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.818; 3. Tanner Thorson, 67, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.821; 4. Christopher Bell, 71, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-15.887; 5. Steve Buckwalter, 25, Buckwalter-15.936; 6. Jerry Coons, Jr., 27, Heffner-16.006; 7. Tracy Hines, 24, Parker-16.035; 8. Brenden Bright, 92, Bright-16.049; 9. Nick Wean, 78, Wean-16.073; 10. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 67K, Kunz/Curb-Agajanian-16.101; 11. Spencer Bayston, 39, Clauson-16.139; 12. Alex Bright, 77, Hemler-16.170; 13. Trevor Kobylarz, 14, RT Racing-16.202; 14. Ryan Greth, 4R, Lesher-16.225; 15. Tyler Thomas, 91T, Thomas-16.240; 16. Steven Drevicki, 19, Fitzpatrick/DeGre-16.244; 17. Billy Pauch, Jr., 28, DeGre-16.270; 18. Ryan Watt, 20, RT Racing-16.276; 19. Isaac Chapple, 52, Chapple-16.334; 20. Jim Radney, 95, Radney-16.334; 21. Tommy Kunsman, 21, Kunsman-16.360; 22. Tony DiMattia, 50, DiMattia-16.363; 23. Tim Buckwalter, 52x, Buckwalter-16.376; 24. Brett Wanner, 44, Wanner-16.386; 25. Brett Arndt, 46, Arndt-16.427; 26. Bruce Buckwalter, Jr., 83, Buckwalter-16.522; 27. P.J. Gargiulo, 5, Gargiulo-16.543; 28. Shawn Jackson, 7, Jackson-16.890; 29. Jamie Speers, 74, Speers-17.009; 30. Pete Pavlick, 69, Jackson-17.597; 31. Jim Jackson, 96, Jackson-19.064

FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. S. Buckwalter, 2. Clauson, 3. Pauch, 4. Wean, 5. Kobylarz, 6. Arndt, 7. Speers, 8. Kunsman. NT
SECOND HEAT:  (8 laps) 1. Coons, 2. Watt, 3. K. Thomas, 4. Abreu, 5. Greth, 6. DiMattia, 7. B. Buckwalter. 2:11.37

THIRD HEAT: (8 laps) 1. T. Thomas, 2. T. Buckwalter, 3. Chapple, 4. Bayston, 5. Hines, 6. Gargiulo, 7. J. Jackson, 8. Thorson. NT

FOURTH HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Bell, 2. A. Bright, 3. Drevicki, 4. B. Bright, 5. Wanner, 6. S. Jackson, 7. Radney. 2:09.02 (New Track Record)

SEMI: (12 laps) 1. Kobylarz, 2. Thorson, 3. Hines, 4. DiMattia, 5. Wanner, 6. Greth, 7. Arndt, 8. Gargiulo, 9. S. Jackson, 10. B. Buckwalter, 11. Kunsman, 12. Speers, 13. J. Jackson. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Rico Abreu, 2. Bryan Clauson, 3. Tracy Hines, 4. Kevin Thomas, Jr., 5. Alex Bright, 6. Jerry Coons, Jr., 7. Steve Buckwalter, 8. Spencer Bayston, 9. Tyler Thomas, 10. Brenden Bright, 11. Tanner Thorson, 12. Trevor Kobylarz, 13. Steven Drevicki, 14. Nick Wean, 15. Christopher Bell, 16. Billy Pauch, Jr., 17. Ryan Watt, 18. Brett Arndt, 19. Isaac Chapple, 20. Ryan Greth, 21. Brett Wanner, 22. Tim Buckwalter, 23. Tony DiMattia. NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-13 Coons, Laps 14-15 Clauson, Laps 16-25 Coons, Laps 26-28 Clauson, Laps 29-30 Abreu.

HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET POINTS: 1-K.Thomas-630; 2-Hines-620; 3-Abreu-588; 4-Thorson-535; 5-Coons-526; 6-Bayston-519; 7-T.Thomas-506; 8-Bell-415; 9-Darren Hagen-321; 10-Chapple-237.

NEXT HONDA NATIONAL MIDGET RACE: August 20 – Newberrytown, Pennsylvania – Susquehanna Speedway Park