Career-best Finish for Rico Abreu at Eldora

ROSSBURG, OH - JULY 19:  Rico Abreu, driver of the #98 Safelite Auto Glass/Curb Records Toyota, drives during practice for the 4th Annual Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway on July 19, 2016 in Rossburg, Ohio.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

(Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Team Information:
Started: 27th
Finished: 3rd
Laps: 150/150
Laps Led: 0
Status: Running
2016 Driver Points: 14th
2016 Owner Points: 15th

Rico Abreu Race Recap:

Rico Abreu, driver of the No. 98 Safelite/Curb Records Toyota Tundra, made his track debut at Eldora Speedway in the 4th annual NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby on Wednesday night at the famed “Big E.” The stand-out dirt driver started the unique, 150-lap, three-segment race, from the 27th position, ran as high as second, and finished a career-best third in the series only dirt-track event.

Starting 27th, Abreu fought a Toyota Tundra that was, “plowing” in the opening laps, but was able to work his way into the top-20 by the third caution at lap 39, ending the first 40-lap segment. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 Safelite machine to pit road under the respective caution for Abreu’s only pit stop of the night, for four tires, fuel, and an adjustment to aid in the handling. Restarting 16th for the second segment, at lap 42, the ThorSport Racing driver battled a Safelite Toyota Tundra that was, “too tight,” hindering Abreu’s ability to break into the top-10 through the races second 50-lap segment. Changing his line to work the bottom of the race track in the third and final 60 lap segment, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender was able to work his way up from the 13th position at lap 94, to finish a career-best third behind race winner, Kyle Larson.

Quotes:

“I was able to work my way up there at the end, and hoped we could have gotten one more restart there, where we could have made some bonsai slide-jobs. Our truck was a third-place truck though, I felt like. It wasn’t as good as Kyle (Larson), and Christopher (Bell). It’s always been a dream of mine to race at Eldora Speedway, let alone in a truck in the Camping World Truck Series for Toyota, ThorSport, and Safelite. This (Eldora) is by far my favorite track in the entire world. Just being able to walk in this place, and to see what Tony (Stewart), Roger (Slack), and Earl Baltes as well, have done with this place, is unbelievable. I get to race my sprint car here, as well as my Keith Kunz midget, and now a truck. I have a lot of heart for this place, and dirt racing, so I’m looking forward to coming back next year, and having a shot at this thing again.”

“These trucks are very sensitive to moisture on the surface, to slick surfaces. You need a track, like Eldora, that’s wide enough, so you can arc the trucks in, and make them turn. Tony (Stewart) gave a lot of options on the track surface tonight. You were able to run the top, middle and bottom. I did a majority of my passes on the bottom to the middle. I could work the middle on the restarts, and then make my way to the bottom. It just shows that you can move around a lot, and put on a great race for the fans.”

News & Notes:

  • The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) had two practice sessions on Tuesday evening in preparation for Wednesday night’s Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway. Rico Abreu was fourth, and third, respectively, in both sessions.
  • The No. 98 Safelite AutoGlass Toyota Tundra was eighth in single truck qualifying on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Abreu lined-up second in Qualifying Race No. 3, and finished sixth, after making contact with another competitor, and suffering significant damage to the right-front of his Safelite Toyota Tundra.
  • Forced to run the last chance race, Abreu started third, and finished second, earning a 27th-place starting position for the 150-lap main event.
  • Making his track debut at Eldora Speedway in the NCWTS, Abreu started 27th, ran as high second, and finished third in the 4th annual event at the “Big E.”
  • Abreu’s third-place finish was a career-best for the Safelite driver.
  • Abreu was the highest-finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender in the series 11th race of the season at Eldora.
  • In 11 starts in 2016, Abreu has led one lap en route to one top-five (Eldora), and three top-10 finishes.
  • In 13 career NCWTS starts, Abreu has led one lap en route to one top-five (Eldora), three top-10, and seven top-15 finishes.
  • Abreu’s ThorSport Racing teammates finished seventh (Hayley), 10th (Crafton), and 23rd (Rhodes).
  • Up Next: The Pocono Mountains 150 at Pocono Raceway on Saturday, July 30 at 1:00pm ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.
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