(10/12/19), By Jim Allen, Hanford, CA … Rico Abreu scored his third King of the West by NARC Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series win of the 60th Anniversary season with a solid victory in Saturday’s 30-lap Penny Newman Grain Cotton Classic at Keller Auto Speedway.
Abreu, piloting his own Abreu Vineyards/Golden State Restaurant Group sprinter, passed two-time defending Cotton Classic champion Mitchell Faccinto in lap traffic on the tenth circuit and cruised to a $3000 payday. Faccinto had led up to that point, but the third starting Abreu made quick work of the field. He won a drag race with Cory Eliason down the backchute a lap earlier for the runner-up spot before slicing and dicing for his winning move.
Seventh starter Bud Kaeding methodically worked his way to the front after starting seventh in the Alviso Rock/Kaeding Performance Center Maxim. He got past Chase Johnson for fourth on lap seven, and inherited third when Faccinto cruised to a stop with a broken shock mount on lap 16. On the restart, Kaeding battled wheel-to-wheel with Cory Eliason for second, officially taking over the second spot on with just nine laps remaining. But by that time, Abreu had established an insurmountable lead and couldn’t be caught.
Kaeding finished second at the checkered and gained enough points to move into a tie with DJ Netto for the series championship point lead with on race remaining. Eliason scored the show position driving Rod Tiner’s Shark Racing Engines 83SA Helix sprinter. Johnson secured fourth in the Thomas Family Fire Suppression Engineering Maxim.
Sixteenth starter Dominic Scelzi roared to a fifth place finish in the Roth Motorsports KPC to keep his championship hopes alive. Those efforts earned his the Swift Metal Finishing Hardcharger award. Scelzi now trails the leaders by only seven-points.
Netto, Ryan Bernal, Willie Croft, 21st starter Geoff Ensign, and Colby Copeland rounded out the top ten.
Jason Statler and Jace Vanderweerd made contact on lap two and brought out the only red flag of the event. Both drivers were unhurt.
Eliason was the class of the field in qualifying, the only driver in the 12-second bracket to earn the ARP Fast Time Award.
FUJITSU FEATURE EVENT (30-laps): Rico Abreu, Bud Kaeding, Cory Eliason, Chase Johnson, Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto, Ryan Bernal, Willie Croft, Geoff Ensign, Colby Copeland, Mitchell Faccinto, Craig Stidham, Sean Watts, Nathan Rolfe, Kenny Allen, Steven Kent, Blake Carrick, Gary Paulson, Mark Barroso, Jason Statler, Jace Vanderweerd.
LAP LEADERS: Faccinto 1-9, Abrue 10-30
ARP FAST QUALIFIER (21 cars): Cory Eliason – 12.936 seconds
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS FIRST HEAT (10 laps): Cory Eliason, Mitchell Faccinto, Kenny Allen, Dominic Scelzi, DJ Netto, Nathan Rolfe, Gary Paulson
FK ROD ENDS SECOND HEAT (10 laps): Chase Johnson, Jace Vanderweerd, Bud Kaeding, Willie Croft, Sean Watts, Blake Carrick, Mark Barroso
SPEEDSHIFT TV/MVP THIRD HEAT (10 laps): Craig Stidham, Rico Abreu, Colby Copeland, Ryan Bernal, Jason Statler, Steven Kent, Geoff Ensign
FOUR CCCC’S CONSTRUCTION/SUNNYVALLEY BACON POLE SHUFFLE (6 laps): Mitchell Faccinto, Cory Eliason, Rico Abreu, Chase Johnson, Willie Croft, Craig Stidham