MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Rico Abreu started the new year like any driver wishes: a win on one of the biggest stages in all of motorsports.
Since that Chili Bowl Nationals prelim victory on January 13, the St. Helena, Calif., native has tried to find the way back to victory lane.
Abreu heads to Williams Grove Speedway this evening for night eight of Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek suddenly 40 points out of the championship race with three races to go, but ultimately trying to quench a sprint car winless drought that’s 0-for-45.
“Consistency is what’s going to win the points,” Abreu said. “I’m focused on winning races. You know, I didn’t come into Pennsylvania to race for a championship. I need to win races.”
Steadiness has held Abreu upright to this point in the week, which pays $6,000 to the overall PA Speedweek champion: fifth at Williams Grove, second at Lincoln Speedway, 12th at BAPS Motor Speedway, 13th in the second stop at Lincoln, sixth at Grandview Speedway, and most recently fifth at Port Royal Speedway on Wednesday.
He has one quick time, too, which came in the series’ opening round at the famed Mechanicsburg half-mile last Friday, where Abreu returns Friday.
His best shot to win this week, so far at least, happened Saturday at the three-eighths-mile. Abreu powered to his heat win by nearly three seconds, drew fifth for the 30-lap feature, and roared into the top-three by lap two.
It didn’t take him long to get to second, but once he moved one spot behind the eventual feature winner and current PA Speedweek points leader Brent Marks, Abreu stalled.
“I’ve felt pretty respectable,” Abreu said. “I felt like I caught traffic [at Lincoln] and slowed down a little bit. It just kind of changed the pace of my race.”
It marked Abreu’s 10th podium of the season and seventh runner-up effort, which indicates he isn’t all that far off.
Last year, it took Abreu until June 29 to bag his first feature win of the year, which also happened at Lincoln, shortly after area sprint car racing found a way to resume amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
He eventually clicked off five more wins to finish the year, and Abreu hopes another PA Speedweek win catapults him into the second half of the season.
A return to victory lane Friday would mean his first win at the historic Williams Grove half-mile, too.
“I feel like we’re really, really competitive each night,” Abreu said. “We just have to keep up the consistency and results.”