TULARE, Calif. – Rico Abreu ended Friday the same way he ended Thursday, in victory lane at Thunderbowl Raceway during the 26th annual Abreu Vineyards Trophy Cup presented by Rudeen Racing.
Abreu, who pocketed $4,000 for his victory out of a $29,630 purse, became the first to win two preliminary mains during one Trophy Cup weekend.
The format was the same as Thursday’s, except group B qualified first and the order within the two groups was reversed. An 86-car field returned, losing three from opening night.
Heat racing was frantic as usual since the first two rows must win to transfer directly to the A main since row three almost always provides the top point car after eight laps.
Six out of 8 fastest time cars in the heats took high point transfer positions. Willie Croft and Justin Sanders each accomplished the unlikely high point finish from the fifth starting position in their respective heats.
Very tough B mains moved four from each to the finale. The 12 inverted cars in the pair of B mains have claimed numerous wins, but the very strong field and demanding format leads to loaded B mains.
The first B main had sliders galore, with Cole Macedo winning over Colton Heath, 18th starting Bud Kaeding, and J.J. Ringo, who survived a last turn slider from micro sprint star Mitch Moles for the final transfer spot.
The second B main went to Buddy Kofoid ahead of two-time Trophy Cup champion Shane Golobic. Chase Johnson and veteran Randy Hannagan also transferred.
Inverting 12 competitors by points put Macedo and Golobic on the front row while the top-two point cars of Justyn Cox and Tim Kaeding filled row six.
Golobic quickly established a lead while Cory Eliason and Macedo chased. Sanders took third on lap 10 with Thursday winner Abreu closing fast.
Abreu took third on lap 14 as Golobic successfully maneuvered through traffic. Two laps later the red flag waved for a tangle involving Dominic Scelzi, D.J. Netto and Johnson.
Sliders began in earnest as soon as the green flag waved again. Eliason and Abreu traded lap 17 sliders before Abreu made a turn four slide work on lap 18 for second.
Another red was needed after Tim Crawley found how treacherous Tulare’s turn four wall can be. A lap 20 restart led to a battle of sliders between Golobic and Abreu until Golobic established a larger lead.
Lap 26 had Abreu right behind Golobic and when the leader went up the track a bit in turn two, Abreu drove underneath and won the race down the backstretch.
Abreu led the final four laps for the $4,000 win over Golobic, Eliason, Jonathan Allard and Sanders.
Abreu is the high point man going into the final night of the Trophy Cup with 283 points. Golobic follows with 277 points, while reigning Trophy Cup champion Jac Haudenschild sits third with 276 points. Kyle Hirst (272 points) and Allard (269 points) are fourth and fifth, respectively.