Rico Abreu inched one step closer to his second Golden Driller at Tulsa Expo Raceway on Wednesday night.
The defending winner of the Chili Bowl Nationals took the checkered flag in overtime of the advertised 25-lap the A Feature.
Tyler Thomas started from the pole but Abreu jumped from sixth to second-place on the second lap of the race. Abreu took the lead on the restart following the first caution on Lap 12 and maintained the point despite Kyle Clark flipping in front of him on Lap 18.
“I didn’t think, honestly, I was going to get it whoa-ed down enough to miss him,” Abreu said. “He actually stopped and rolled towards the wall instead of rolling back down on the track. Definitely saved my ass there.”
Sprint to the finish
The action slowed again on Lap 23 with four cars — TJ Smith, Larry Wight, Jason McDougal and Sammy Swindell collided in Turns 1 and 2. Before the cars returned to full speed, Tyler Courtney and McDougal made contact to stop the action again.
Abreu held the point coming to the checkered flag as Colby Copeland lost control of his car and took out Swindell in the process. The field lined up for a two-lap shoot out with Abreu holding off Thomas and Thomas Meseraull for the win.
“Tonight, I just tried to stay as smooth as possible and stay out of everybody’s mess,” Abreu said. “I feel like you have to win every time you’re on the track here and tonight went really smooth.”
Meseraull came from fifth to third on the final restart to earn the final transfer position of Saturday’s A Main in the 30th running of the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals.
"Everyone went to the bottom, so I hammered the top,” Meseraull said.
A record-344 competitors will qualify over four nights for 24 spots in Saturday’s A-Main. Wednesday’s action began with 10 Heat races followed by the feature qualifiers.
Austin Brown held off Broken Arrow’s Jason McDougal, Alex Sewell and Tyler Courtney in the first 10-lap Qualifying race. Rico Abreu dominated the second Qualifying Race by 0.795-seconds of AJ Fike. Payton Pierce and Jeff Stasa rounded out the top-four finishers.
Chase Stockton topped Gary Taylor, Blake Hahn and Steve Buckwalter in the third qualifier.
The fourth and final qualifier was slowed by four cautions — including a Josh Lakatos’ flip — before Thomas Meseraull beat Tyler Thomas to the line by 0.533-seconds.
Don Droud Jr. won the first C Main after the action was delayed by a seven-car pile up. Droud led Wyatt Burks, Harley Hollan and Hannah Adair — all who advanced to the corresponding B Main. After repairing his car following the fourth Heat Race, J.J. Yeley came back in the second C Main to win over Sammy Swindell, Derek Hagar and Daniel Adler.
Colby Copeland (first) and Josh Lakatos (second) were victorious in the B Mains. Copeland edged Parker Price-Miller, Brendan Bright and Kyle Clark. Lakatos outran Daniel Robinson, Swindell and Daniel Adler.