Rico Abreu wins Chili Bowl Nationals

Rico Abreu

The biggest midget car race of the year was Saturday night and Rico Abreu won it for the first time.

Abreu passed Bryan Clauson at about the halfway point of the race and absolutely checked out in the second half, surviving a number of restarts for the win.

After the last restart, Abreu wasn’t even challenged. He had a lead of almost a straightaway just a few laps after the yellow flag.

Standing 4-4 and 95 pounds, Abreu, 22, drives with blocks to build up the pedals in his car. He said he’d capitalize on the chance to drive stock cars, but has a busy sprint car schedule. 2014’s USAC Midget series champion ran over 100 races last year. According to USA Today he’s had preliminary discussions about late models and the K&N East Series.

“If I got a chance to drive stock cars, I would,” Abreu said via USA Today. “I’m not sure what’s going on there now, but I’ve got a lot going with sprints and midgets this year.”

The Chili Bowl is held indoors in Tulsa, Okla.

There were many familiar faces at the Chili Bowl, both in the A-Main and either participating in the entire week or spectating. Or, in Tony Stewart‘s case, helping groom the racing surface. Kurt Busch was there (and didn’t comment on his legal drama with his ex-girlfriend), while Kyle Larson raced in the A-Main. Ricky Stenhouse participated too, and Danica Patrick was there to watch him.