Rico Abreu charges from 16th to score 2nd straight Johnny Key Classic victory

Rico Abreu charges from 16th to score 2nd straight Johnny Key Classic victory


Abreu Awesome In Second Johnny Key Classic Victory

(PETERSEN MEDIA-Aptos, CA)- Continuing a masterful 2014 campaign, Rico Abreu became the eighth different winner in eight shows to date with the Civil War Series Presented By Flowmaster, as he electrified the crowd with a charge from 16th to win the 54th Johnny Key Classic Presented By Al’s Roofing Supply, his second career, and the first driver to score back to back wins since Chuck Miller pulled it off in 1993-1994.

With Bud Kaeding and Shane Golobic leading the field to green following the dash earlier in the evening, it was Kaeding getting the early advantage as Golobic settled into the second spot, with Matt Peterson moving into third from his sixth starting spot using a very nice move in the first corner.

Following a red flag for an uninjured Dominic Scelzi on the second lap, Golobic and Kaeding hooked up in a torrid dogfight for the top spot, as Kaeding pounded the cushion, With Golobic working the bottom of a very racy surface early in the race.

With the battle up front a great one, racing action was exciting all over the track, as Brent Kaeding and Abreu were coming on from the back of the pack, as the caution waived on the ninth circuit slowing the pace of the event.

When the action resumed, the lead duo pulled away from the pack, and behind them Tommy Tarlton and Peterson began battling for the third spot, as a surging Abreu quickly became a factor as he raced his way towards the Top-Five.

With laps clicking off at a fast pace, Golobic made his move for the lead on the 20th lap, and behind him, Abreu took the second spot from Kaeding on the 22nd lap.

With the leader now in Abreu’s sights, he was able to make a big time move on the 24th lap, to grab the lead, and hold the top spot when the scheduled caution flew on the 25th lap.

At the break, Abreu led Golobic, Kaeding, Peterson and Tommy Tarlton rounding out the top-five as crews had 10-minutes to make any changes they saw fit to their machines.

Following the stop, the race had a little trouble getting started, as Tommy Tarlton’s night came to an end with engine issues, and he slowed to a stop before Sean Becker and Shawn Wright came to stops on the following attempts at restarts.

When the race got back to green flag action, the exciting action that had fans on the edge of their seats during the opening segment slowly went away as the track began laying rubber, putting passing at a premium.

Though the rubber was down, Brent Kaeding and Jonathan Allard were able to slowly work their way forward, as Abreu had his hands full with Golobic at the front of the field as lapped traffic came into play.

With the bottom of the speedway being the preferred line, Abreu was able to get out of line exiting turn two on the 40th lap to clear a slower car, and quickly get back in the rubber, as he had Golobic breathing down his neck.

The 47th lap brought the race’s final caution, and during the yellow, fourth running Matt Peterson’s strong run came to an end as his right rear tire went flat, forcing him to make a trip to the work area with three laps to go.

When the action resumed, Abreu was flawless over the final three laps, as he was able to pick up his second consecutive Johnny Key Classic Presented By Al’s Roofing Supply, as he took the checkered over Shane Golobic, Bud Kaeding, Mason Moore, and 19th starting Brent Kaeding.

“It is incredible to see what this event is evolving into,” a jubilant Abreu said in victory lane. “The first 25 laps of this thing were awesome, and I hope all of you fans enjoyed that. I think starting earlier hurt the track in the long run, but John Prentice and this track are heavily watched so it was necessary to make sure we got this race in. I can’t thank the track, the series, and all of the great people who put events like this on. I also can’t thank Paul Silva, and my entire team for working so hard all night.”

Abreu earned $7500 for his win, plus the $500 Thirty Five Industries halfway bonus, along with the $300 High Five Pizza Hard Charger Award.

Though he continued to remain very consistent with the Civil War and Taco Bravo Series, Shane Golobic was disappointed to run second, but was able to see the big picture.

“We would have loved to be one spot better, but it is really hard to be upset with second place,” he said. “Rico is having an awesome year, and congrats to those guys. We are having a pretty awesome year too, and hopefully we can celebrate a couple of championships in the next few weeks. I have to thank everyone who continues to give me a fast racecar each night.”

After leading the early portion of the race, 1996 Johnny Key Classic Winner, Bud Kaeding, would end up finishing in the third spot.

“We had a good car early, and the track started to change, and Shane and Rico were able to get by us right at the end of the first segment,” he said. “We put ourselves in a good position, and it’s nice to get a podium at a cool event.”

Rounding out the Top-10 in the event were 15th starting, Jonathan Allard, Kyle Hirst, Greg DeCaires, Mitchell Faccinto, and Kurt Nelson.

With five drivers being locked into the feature event, the 43 additional drivers were set for time trials and a qualifier, vying for one of 17 positions into the feature event.

With Matt Peterson taking the night’s quick time honors & earning $300 from Ray Scheidts Electric, four 12-lap qualifers were lined up straight up off of qualifying times, with the top-four finishers transferring to the feature event in what proved to be four very exciting races.

The first qualifier of the night saw Matt Peterson take advantage of his front row starting position as he was able to pick up the win, and move to the feature with Carson Macedo, Sean Becker, and Brent Kaeding.

The second qualifier of the night saw an exciting finish, as DJ Netto picked up the win over Kyle Hirst and Jonathan Allard. In a wheel-to-wheel battle for the final spot, Dominic Scelzi and Craig Stidham got together coming to the checkered flag, with Stidham getting upside down, and Scelzi taking the final transfer spot.

In the third qualifier, Billy Butler and Alissa Geving thrilled the crowd in a slide-job exhibition for the top spot, with Geving making a bold move to take the win as Butler settled for second with Kurt Nelson and Heath Duinkerken moving on.

Justyn Cox picked up the fourth qualifier win as he held on Mitchell Faccinto, Rico Abreu and Jamie Duff, who all earned feature starting spots.

With only five cars being locked in, to start the night, it was announced at the drivers meeting that the fastest driver from time trials to finish fifth in their qualifier would earn the final feature spot, and that driver was Shawn Wright.

ON TAP: The Civil War Sprint Car Series Presented By Flowmaster will kick of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at the Silver Dollar Speedway for the always exciting Wednesday show on September 3rd. The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo will return to action on Friday night September 19 for the penultimate race in the season long championship battle.

Paul Trevino Photo

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