HANFORD, Calif. – Rico Abreu scored his third King of the West/NARC Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series victory of the season in Saturday’s 30-lap Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway.
Abreu, piloting his own Abreu Vineyards/Golden State Restaurant Group No. 24 sprinter, passed two-time defending Cotton Classic champion Mitchell Faccinto in lap traffic on the ninth circuit and cruised to a $3,000 payday from there.
Faccinto had led up to that point, but the third starting Abreu made quick work of the field. He won a drag race with Cory Eliason down the back chute a lap earlier for the runner-up spot before slicing and dicing to make his winning move.
Seventh starter Bud Kaeding methodically worked his way to the front after starting seventh in the Alviso Rock/Kaeding Performance Center Maxim. He got past Chase Johnson for fourth on lap seven, and inherited third when Faccinto cruised to a stop with a broken shock mount on lap 16.
On the restart, Kaeding battled wheel-to-wheel with Cory Eliason for second, officially taking over the second spot on with nine laps remaining. But by that time, Abreu had established an insurmountable lead and couldn’t be caught.
Kaeding finished second at the checkered and gained enough points to move into a tie with DJ Netto for the series championship point lead with on race remaining. Eliason scored the show position driving Rod Tiner’s Shark Racing Engines 83SA Helix sprinter.
Johnson secured fourth in the Thomas Family Fire Suppression Engineering Maxim.
Sixteenth-starting Dominic Scelzi roared to a fifth-place finish in the Roth Motorsports KPC to keep his championship hopes alive. Those efforts earned his the Swift Metal Finishing Hard Charger Award. Scelzi now trails the leaders by only seven points.
Netto, Ryan Bernal, Willie Croft, 21st-starting Geoff Ensign and Colby Copeland rounded out the top 10.
Jason Statler and Jace Vanderweerd made contact on lap two and brought out the only red flag of the event. Both drivers were unhurt.
Rico Abreu, Bud Kaeding, Cory Eliason, Chase Johnson, Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto, Ryan Bernal, Willie Croft, Geoff Ensign, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto, Craig Stidham, Sean Watts, Nathan Rolfe, Kenny Allen, Steven Kent, Blake Carrick, Gary Paulson, Mark Barroso, Jason Statler, Jace Vanderweerd.