PEVELY, Mo. — Breaking out the broom and going back-to-back, Rico Abreu completed an Ironman Weekend sweep on Saturday night at the Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55.
Becoming the fourth leader in a race filled with variety, Abreu assumed the lead with seven laps left and survived a hectic finish to win his 12th-career POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League feature.
Although not as deep as his 14th-starting position on Friday night, Abreu took the green flag in Saturday’s 30-lapper from the inside of row four in seventh. Meanwhile, for the second night in a row it was Zach Daum on the pole with Daniel Adler to his outside.
However, it was neither Daum nor Adler controlling the opening circuit, as third-starter Ace McCarthy rolled around the inside wall and moved underneath them both to take the lead. Pacing the opening three laps, McCarthy’s grip on the top spot soon faded as an all-out war began with McCarthy, Daum, Cannon McIntosh and Noah Gass all battling for the lead.
Throttling around the outside, McIntosh used the cushion to his advantage and put his Dave Mac Motorsports, Drive WFX, Spike/Toyota No. 08 out front. Developing three distinct grooves, the battle up front only heated up as McIntosh committed to the top, Gass rolled right through the middle and McCarthy methodically maneuvered around the bottom.
Much to McIntosh’s surprise, he received company in the surprise of fellow Oklahoma native, Noah Gass, who approached him and then assumed the race lead with a pass on the 12th lap. After working through lap traffic, the duo waged war again in a wheel-to-wheel affair before the first stoppage of the race came with a lap 20 caution for Daniel Adler.
Restarting with 10 to go, Gass and McIntosh quickly found a new challenger in the mix as Friday winner, Rico Abreu, had worked his way into the third spot and presented his No. 97 into the match. After momentarily swapping sliders with McIntosh, Abreu made his way towards Gass and put the hammer down, driving around the outside to become the fourth leader on lap 23.
With the excitement far from over, Tyler Thomas made his presence felt by completing a daring three-wide and passing McIntosh and Gass in one clean shot. While Thomas caught Abreu in the closing laps, the capacity crowd at I-55 rose to their feet as the No. 91t and the No. 97 ran side by side for five consecutive laps dueling for the win.
The duo went toe-to-toe lap-after-lap and corner-after-corner while Thomas stuck the bottom on both ends and Abreu railed the cushion all the way around. Only moments after the white flag waved, the caution came out for third-running McIntosh who slowed with right rear trouble.
Another caution for top-five running Zach Daum set the stage for the final caution, which came when Thomas, who was fighting for the win, spun in turn three after contact with the inside wall while coming to the white flag.
From there, Abreu survived to seal the sweep with the POWRi Lucas Oil National / West Midget League at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55. It was Abreu’s 12th-career triumph with POWRi in his Keith Kunz Motorsports, Safelite Auto Glass, Bullet/Toyota No. 97.
Chasing Rico to the stripe and earning a career-best finish in second-place was Gass in the No. 20 machine. Rounding out the podium for the second night in a row was C.J. Leary aboard the Reynolds Racing, Lucas Oil, Ripper/SR-11 No. 21KS.
Andrew Felker romped from 19thto fourth with Holley Hollan taking fifth.
Sheldon Haudenschild won the Ironman 55 sprint car race.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu (7); 2. 20G-Noah Gass (6); 3. 21KS-C.J. Leary (13); 4. 44S-Andrew Felker (19); 5. 67-Holley Hollan (16); 6. 11B-Joe B. Miller (11); 7. 71-Jesse Colwell (12); 8. 3N-Jake Neuman (8); 9. 97K-Jesse Love (15); 10. 50-Daniel Adler (2); 11. 08-Cannon McIntosh (4); 12. 91T-Tyler Thomas (5); 13. 97A-Austin O’Dell (22); 14. 8M-Chance Morton (9); 15. 3B-Shelby Bosie (20); 16. 5-Danny Frye (18); 17. 5D-Zach Daum (1); 18. 72-Sam Johnson (10); 19. 28-Ace McCarthy (3); 20. 9-Daison Pursley (14); 21. 2H-Luke Howard (21); 22. 37-Karter Sarff (17).