BELLEVILLE, Kan. — Rico Abreu made it very clear after his runner-up performance on Thursday that he was tired of finishing second in the Saturday finale of the “Belleville Midget Nationals” after ending up there the last two years.
The St. Helena, Calif., pilot used a mid-race slider for the lead and was flawless riding the rim of the legendary half-mile for the emotional victory in the Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports – Toyota TRD No. 97 Bullet/Speedway Toyota.
“It’s hard to tell everyone how this one feels. I got pretty emotional in victory lane in that moment,” Abreu said. “I told myself that I wasn’t running second this year. I realized I wasn’t gaining on him and I was running the same line as him, so it was time to move up a bit higher and got it going up there. It was as far on the fence as it could be, and I almost hung from it a couple times. It was right up my alley, for sure. This is special for me – I’ve wanted to win here since I showed up here.”
Daum, who won Friday’s 25-lap preliminary feature, got the jump from the pole. An caution for Chris Windom, who had been running eighth, slowed the early going. He changed his right-rear tire and rejoined the field.
From there, the race went green, and Daum actually pulled away from Abreu after the restart and through the ten-lap mark. Abreu then got going, cutting big chunks out of Daum’s lead until he caught him at the completion of lap thirteen and fired a long, sweeping slider through turns one and two for the lead.