Abreu Stars In Louie Vermeil Classic Finale

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Abreu Stars In Louie
Rico Abreu in victory lane at Calistoga Speedway. (Donna Peter photo)

CALISTOGA, Calif. – It was the Rico Abreu Show at Calistoga Speedway Sunday night.

The popular open-wheel driver started on the pole and dominated the King of the West/NARC Sprint Car Series field, leading all 25 laps to win the second night of the Louie Vermeil Classic.

Combined with setting fast time, winning the Sunnyvalley Bacon Dash, and topping the feature, Abreu cashed out $7,800 for his nights efforts, plus the coveted Louie trophy.

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His winning ride was the potent Abreu Vineyards/Golden State McDonalds-sponsored No. 24 sprint car. It was his 12th career victory on the historic half-mile oval.

The only thing preventing a clean sweep was a second place finish in Abreu’s heat race.

The 27-year old driver was the class of the field from the original green, jumping out to a huge 10-car length advantage over Shane Golobic, Ryan Bernal, and Bud Kaeding.

The first 15 laps ran non-stop, with Abreu masterfully dicing through traffic until the caution flag came out for Colby Copeland. It came out again on lap 17 for Kenny Allen.

On each restart, Abreu dished out more of the same and went on to score the popular win.

“My guys gave me a car that I could run anywhere,” said Abreu. “I was able to move up or down the track to get through traffic which was good, because I didn’t know if anybody was close behind.”

After his interview, Abreu invited all of the young fans up to the podium to share in the thrill of victory.

Bud Kaeding, driving the Alviso Rock/Kaeding Performance Maxim, passed Bernal on the second circuit and picked off Golobic on lap 15, but eventually had to settle for the runner-up spot at the checkered. That was worth $3,000.

Golobic completed the podium finishers in his Elk Grove Ford/NOS Energy Drink-sponsored car, $2,000 richer.

Saturday night Vermeil winner Dominic Scelzi piloted the Roth Motorsports KPC to fourth after starting 10th, while fifteenth starter and points leader DJ Netto battled to a solid fifth place outing aboard the Netto Ag KPC.

That effort earned Netto the Swift Metal Finishing Hard Charger Award.

The next five to cross under the checkered flag were Bernal, JoJo Helberg, 17th-starter Geoff Ensign, Mitchell Faccinto, and 20th-starter Willie Croft.

The finish:

Rico Abreu, Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto, Ryan Bernal, JoJo Helberg, Geoff Ensign, Mitchell Faccinto, Willie Croft, Sean Watts, Shane Hopkins, Nathan Rolfe, Jason Statler, Matt DeMartini, Nathan Schank, Kenny Allen, Colby Copeland.