Dominant Abreu Rules Muskingum County

Rico Abreu en route to victory at Muskingum County Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)
Rico Abreu en route to victory at Muskingum County Speedway. (Julia Johnson photo)

DRESDEN, Ohio — Snapping an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 winless streak that dates back to Atomic Speedway on August 25, 2017, Rico Abreu demolished the field on Thursday evening at Muskingum County Speedway.

Abreu led all 30 laps from the pole to claim round six of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires.

Abreu, driver of the Rico Abreu/Curb-Agajanian Racing/Abreu Vineyards/Lucas Oil Products/Curb Records/Self Made Racing/Dancer Logistics No. 24 sprint car was just shy of perfect during his visit to half-mile track with his only defeat during the entire program coming in the form of a runner-up performance during his respective heat race.

The eight-time All Star Circuit of Champions feature winner, two of which occurring during Ohio Sprint Speedweek, set the fastest qualifying time in his respective group of qualifiers, and won the first of two dashes, ultimately setting up his pole position.

Eventually escaping to a comfortable margin of victory that reached nearly a full straightaway, Abreu encountered some pressure during the non-stop 30-lap contest, most of which in the form of lapped traffic. Although reaching slower cars by lap seven, it was not until lap 12 when things started to really bunch up in front of the familiar No. 24.

The high-speed roadblock allowed fellow frontrunners Aaron Reutzel and Shane Stewart to close the lead gap, all within just a few car lengths by lap 15.

Although intense for a moment, the pressure faded just as rapidly as it started, as Abreu navigated slower cars and padded his lead to a pair of lappers by lap 22.

Rico Abreu (Julia Johnson photo)

“Patience was keen there when we got to lapped traffic. You got guys like Aaron Reutzel, Shane Stewart, Kyle Larson behind you; you gotta really hustle it,” said Abreu. “My car had a really good right rear squeeze to it, so I could carry a lot of momentum to the center of the corner then just kinda back everything up getting off. My guys did a phenomenal job. They worked all night long and made little tweaks every time we got off of the track. It’s all based on communication with them and making sure you’re giving them the right feedback. I feel like we hit all of our steps tonight.

“A big thanks to all of the fans for coming out tonight. It’s a Thursday night, so it’s great to see a healthy crowd. I’m looking forward to racing the rest of the week with the All Stars. It’s a lot of fun getting to race with them.”

Stewart worked his way around Aaron Reutzel to claim second with two laps remaining. Reutzel, the current Ohio Sprint Speedweek points leader, maintained third at the final checkers, followed by Kyle Larson and Josh Baughman.

The finish:

Feature (30 laps): 1. 24-Rico Abreu [1]; 2. 71-Shane Stewart [4]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 57-Kyle Larson [5]; 5. 17-Josh Baughman [7]; 6. 5-Brent Marks [6]; 7. 11-Zeb Wise [3]; 8. 3C-Cale Conley [10]; 9. 26-Cory Eliason [8]; 10. 55-Hunter Schuerenberg [11]; 11. 12N-Joey Saldana [12]; 12. 99-Skylar Gee [9]; 13. 28-Tim Shaffer [13]; 14. 15K-Chad Kemenah [20]; 15. 13-Paul McMahan [14]; 16. W20-Greg Wilson [22]; 17. O7-Gerard McIntyre [17]; 18. 4S-Tyler Street [18]; 19. 35-Stuart Brubaker [24]; 20. 3J-Trey Jacobs [16]; 21. 5H-Jordan Harble [15]; 22. 70M-Henry Malcuit [21]; 23. 22B-Ryan Broughton [23]; 24. 15-Mitch Harble [19]

Lap Leader(s): Rico Abreu 1-30.

SPEED SPORT’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek coverage is presented by Cometic Gasket Inc., a leading worldwide supplier of gaskets and engine sealing solutions for the automotive performance, powersports, original equipment and remanufactured engine industries. No matter what you ride, Cometic Gasket can seal your machine so you can focus on the finish line.

Since 1989, Cometic has been living, breathing, and eating powersports. As a proud supporters of GNCC, AMA, NASCAR, and other race-teams across the country, Cometic understands what it takes to put everything on the line with one goal in mind. When you earn your living racing at the highest level against the best in the country, engine failures simply aren’t an option. Champions across the world continue to use Cometic Gasket for their engine-sealing solutions. Whether they’re driving a Gen-6 stock car or riding a top fuel motorcycle, Cometic Gaskets are the reliable source in extreme conditions.

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