ST. HELENA, Calif. – Rico Abreu will face a new challenge next year as he prepares for the largest campaign of his career with the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series.
The Californian is slated to run 80 percent of the schedule next year, including iconic events such as the Knoxville Nationals, Kings Royal, Historical Big One, National Open, High Bank Nationals and World Finals.
Abreu also confirmed Ricky Warner, one of the most successful crew chiefs in the history of sprint car racing, will join his race team following much success with Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart Racing.
“The biggest thing is the World of Outlaws are the best, it’s that simple,” Abreu said. “It’s the best drivers in the world, they bring the most fans to the races, and they pay the best all throughout the field.”
An eight-time winner with the series, Abreu’s victories are spread between two Gold Cup titles (2016 and ’18) at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., two Ironman 55 titles (2016-17) at Missouri’s Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55, two wins at California’s Tulare Thunderbowl Raceway and one win apiece at Stockton Dirt Track and Arizona Speedway.
At 29 years old, the ever-popular superstar has amassed more than 200 feature starts with the aeries and enters next year only four shy of 100 top-10 finishes.
He’s been a mainstay in sprint car and midget racing for the past decade, but hasn’t had all the pieces to go full-time. He hinted this is the next step in eventually getting there.
“I think this is my 11th season now and I haven’t ran a full-time World of Outlaws schedule yet because I feel like I’ve been working the past six years or so to put together a team that can accomplish that,” Abreu said. “It’s important that everything is done properly and I’m working towards that direction, but we’re not entirely there.”
From his early days with Tyler Walker to winning hundreds of races with Schatz, Warner is amongst the greatest crew chiefs of his era.
Lessons from legends Karl Kinser, Kenny Woodruff and Daryl Saucier eventually led to 10 World of Outlaws championships and 10 Knoxville Nationals titles for Warner, the Carlisle, Pa., native.
The other angle of Abreu’s goal to eventually become a full-time World of Outlaw is delivering desired results to companies like Lucas Oil Products, Rowdy Energy and Curb Records, which have backed him for years.
“You know I’ve brought on huge cooperations and they deserve not just the promotional and marketing side to their product, but they deserve the results too,” Abreu said. “I haven’t been in that position to commit to that, but this is building to there.”