Rico Rolls in Peter Murphy Classic Opener

TULARE, Cal. (April 21, 2017) – Rico Abreu kicked off Thunderbowl Raceway’s “Peter Murphy Classic” by rallying past Sean Becker in the late stages to win Friday night’s 35-lap Sprint Car Challenge Tour feature atop the 1/3-mile clay oval over a field of 51 entries.

Abreu led the final handful of laps to pocket the $3,500 winner’s share as he became the third different winner in as many SCCT events after Cory Eliason won the inaugural event at Antioch in April 1 and then Kyle Larson topped round two at Placerville last Saturday night.

“That was good racing, everyone was balls to the wall there,” Abreu said in victory lane.  “You have to put yourself in contention to be able to win these.”

Abreu did exactly that, beginning with a charge from the 12th redraw to win seven face-offs in the Pole Shuffle to earn the fifth starting position for the feature.

With Abreu working forward in the Abreu Vineyards No. 24 from the third row, Becker gunned into the lead at the outset from the pole position and was in command much of the way as he tried to chase down his first Thunderbowl triumph.

In his wake, Kyle Hirst and Abreu made their way to second and third, respectively, past the midway point.  When one final caution flew with ten laps to go, Abreu took advantage of the inside starting line to slide past Hirst for second and then went to work on Becker.

With Becker working the low side and Abreu on the fence, the latter ultimately edged ahead on the 31st lap and charged onward to victory lane.

Becker settled for runner-up honors in the Menne No. 75 behind Abreu.  “This track has had my number,” Becker commented.  “This car was locked down, bad fast.  Rico is a phenom, he just outdrove me.”

After sweeping both legs of last year’s “Peter Murphy Classic”, Hirst settled for third in the Roth Motorsports No. 83.  “We didn’t really need that restart, being stuck up on the top I knew we were in trouble.”

Cory Eliason crossed the stripe fourth with Ryan Bernal rounding out the top five.

Rebounding from problems in his heat race while well in command, 15-year-old Giovanni Scelzi charged from 13th to capture sixth with the balance of the top ten including 14th-starter Shane Golobic, 18th-starter Mason Moore, Carson Macedo and Tony Gualda.

Eliason set the night’s quick time in qualifying with Gualda, Colby Copeland, Willie Croft, Abreu and Hirst topping heat race action.

Sprint Car Challenge Tour Results – Thunderbowl Raceway “Peter Murphy Classic”: 

Fast Qualifier: 83sa-Cory Eliason

Heat Winners: Tony Gualda, Colby Copeland, Willie Croft, Rico Abreu, Kyle Hirst.

Pole Shuffle Winner:  Sean Becker ($400).

C Main 1 (10 Laps – Top 2 Advance):  1. 7p-Jared Peterson, 2. 5-Michael Faccinto, 3. 42x-Herman Klein, 4. 91c-Shawn Conde, 5. 10-Matthew Moles, 6. 57-Dustin Golobic, 7. 96-Luca Romanazzi, 8. 7n-Zack Lynskey.  DNS: 00-Jason Statler, 67x-Vaughn Schott.

C Main 2 (10 Laps – Top 2 Advance):  1. 37-Mitchell Faccinto, 2. P37-Matt Peterson, 3. 2-Billy Butler, 4. 7x-Steven Kent, 5. 8-Jeremy Chisum, 6. 88k-Koen Shaw, 7. 11s-Robert Stice. DNS: 15-Blake Robertson, 6c-Travis Coelho.

B Main (15 Laps – Top 7 Advance):  1. 83jr-Gio Scelzi, 2. 21x-Carson Macedo, 3. X1-Mason Moore, 4. 16-Andy Gregg, 5. 4s-Michael Kofoid, 6. 3-Kaleb Montgomery, 7. 7p-Jared Peterson, 8. 37-Mitchell Faccinto, 9. P37-Matt Peterson, 10. 33-Lucas Ashe, 11. 43-Bradley Terrell, 12. 5-Michael Faccinto, 13. 2k-Kyle Offill, 14. 9L-Cody Lamar, 15. 31c-Justyn Cox, 16. 3s-Craig Stidham, 17. 17-Dominic Scelzi, 18. 12p-Scott Parker, 19. 11d-Colton Slack, 20. 7-Kalib Henry.

A Main (35 Laps):  1. 24-Rico Abreu (5), 2. 75-Sean Becker (1), 3. 83-Kyle Hirst (9), 4. 83sa-Cory Eliason (6), 5. 56-Ryan Bernal (2), 6. 83jr-Gio Scelzi (13), 7. 22-Shane Golobic (14), 8. X1-Mason Moore (18), 9. 21x-Carson Macedo (15), 10. 7c-Tony Gualda (7), 11. X1jr-Colby Copeland (10), 12. 72w-Kurt Nelson (17), 13. 37-Mitchell Faccinto (22), 14. 16-Andy Gregg (19), 15. 4s-Michael Kofoid (20), 16. 29-Willie Croft (12), 17. 94-Steven Tiner (4), 18. 3c-D.J. Netto (16), 19. 26-Tayler Malsam (11), 20. 17w-Justin Sanders (3), 21. 14-Jason Meyers (8), 22. 3-Kaleb Montgomery (21).

Note: 37-Mitchell Faccinto started the feature as an alternate after 7p-Jared Peterson scratched.

(RCM Design photo)