(9/1/19) By Jim Allen, Calistoga, CA … It was the Rico Abreu sprint car show at Calistoga Speedway Sunday night. The popular driver started on the pole and dominated the field, leading all 25-laps at the second night of the Louie Vermeil Classic for the King of the West by NARC Fujitsu Racing Series!
Combined with setting fast time, winning the Sunnyvalley Bacon dash, and the feature, Abreu cashed out $7800 for his nights efforts, plus the coveted “Louie” trophy. A $1000 of that amount came from the Williams Roofing lucky fan pill draw bonus. Abreu’s winning ride was the potent Abreu Vineyards/Golden State McDonalds-sponsored number 24 sprint car. It was his 12th career victory on the historic half-mile oval. The only thing preventing a clean sweep was a second place finish in his heat race.
The 27-year old driver was the class of the field from the original green jumping out to a huge 10-car length advantage over Shane Golobic, Ryan Bernal, and Bud Kaeding. The first 15-laps ran non-stop with Abreu masterfully dicing through traffic until the caution flag came out for Colby Copeland. It came out again on lap 17 for Kenny Allen. On each restart, Abreu dished out more of the same and went on to score the popular victory.
“My guys gave me a car that I could run anywhere,” said Abreu. “I was able to move up or down the track to get through traffic which was good because I didn’t know if anybody was close behind.”
After his interview, Abreu invited all of the young fans up to the podium to share in the thrill of victory.
Bud Kaeding, driving the Alviso Rock/Kaeding Performance Maxim, passed Bernal on the second circuit and picked off Golobic on lap 15 but eventually had to settle for the runner-up spot at the checkered. That was worth $3000. Golobic completed the podium finishers in his Elk Grove Ford/NOS Energy car, $2000 richer.
First night Vermeil winner Dominic Scelzi piloted the Roth Motorsports KPC to fourth after starting tenth. Fifteenth starter and points leader DJ Netto battled to a solid fifth place outing aboard the Netto Ag KPC. That effort earned him the Swift Metal Finishing Hardcharger Award.
The next five to cross the checkered were Bernal, JoJo Helberg, 17th starter Geoff Ensign, Mitchell Faccinto, and 20th starter Willie Croft.
Golobic, Sean Watts, and Bernal were heat race winners.
FUJITSU FEATURE EVENT (25-laps): Rico Abreu, Bud Kaeding, Shane Golobic, Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto, Ryan Bernal, JoJo Helberg, Geoff Ensign, Mitchell Faccinto, Willie Croft, Sean Watts, Shane Hopkins, Nathan Rolfe, Jason Statler, Matt DeMartini, Nathan Schank, Kenny Allen, Colby Copeland.
LAP LEADERS: Abreu 1-25
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (20 cars): Rico Abreu – 17.186 seconds
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS FIRST HEAT (8 laps): Shane Golobic, Rico Abreu, Dominic Scelzi, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto, Nathan Rolfe, Nathan Schank.
FK ROD ENDS SECOND HEAT (8 laps): Sean Watts, Shane Hopkins, Bud Kaeding, JoJo Helberg, Jason Statler, Geoff Ensign.
SPEEDSHIFT TV/MVP THIRD HEAT (8 laps): Ryan Bernal, Sean Becker, DJ Netto, Chase Johnson, Willie Croft, Matt DeMartini, Kenny Allen
SUNNYVALLEY BACON DASH (6 laps): Rico Abreu, Shane Golobic, Bud Kaeding, Ryan Bernal, Shane Hopkins, Sean Becker