Rico Abreu, Kyle Larson’s teammate, wins Wednesday A-Main in Chili Bowl

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Keith Kunz Motorsports continues to set a torrid pace in the 29th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Center.

NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kyle Larson won all three of his heat races during Tuesday’s qualifying, including advancing to Saturday night’s main event final round.

Larson’s teammate and fellow Californian, Rico Abreu, was the star in Wednesday’s qualifying races, outlasting a field of 83 drivers to take home the checkered flag in the evening’s main race.

It was Abreu’s first Preliminary Night victory ever in Chili Bowl competition. His mindset was simple, according to a Chili Bowl media release:

“Don’t crash,” said Abreu, who started sixth before methodically working his way through the field to win. “You get those lapped cars running side-by-side in front of you then all you worry about is the guy behind you running you down.”

Driving the No. 97 Toyota, Abreu shot to the front of the field on Lap 15 and held on for the final 10 laps to take the checkered flag by nearly three seconds ahead of runnerup Chris Windom.

In a classy gesture, Abreu dedicated the win to late racer Donnie Ray Crawford, who was shot and killed by his grandfather in a domestic altercation three years ago to the day (Jan. 14, 2012).

Abreu performed a so-called Polish Victory Lap, covering the track backward, to honor Crawford’s memory.

“There’s a young man that was really close to (Crawford) and he said if I won tonight, I should do (the backward victory lap),” Abreu said. “I didn’t really think about it until after the checkered. It’s pretty special just to bring back those memories.”

NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley finished third in the A-Main and became the final driver to transfer into Saturday’s championship round.

Blake Hahn and Sammy Swindell finished fourth and fifth respectively.

“You have to run hard no matter what when you’re here,” Yeley said. “The racetrack got really treacherous and you had to be smooth. I think (Hahn) was trying to regain maybe the spot he had given up there, and obviously when you are coming down to the last couple of laps, you are going to do everything you can to get in that top-three.”

The Chili Bowl continues with John Christner Trucking Qualifying Night on Thursday. Hot Laps are slated to begin at 4:45 P.M. with racing at 5:45 P.M. (CT).

For more information on the Chili Bowl Nationals, log onto http://www.chilibowl.com

Results:

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire
Tulsa Expo Raceway – Tulsa, Okla.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
River Spirit Casino Qualifying Night
Car Count: 83

Budweiser Heat Races: Top 40 in passing points advance to Qualifiers.

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 91T-Tyler Thomas[1]; 2. 55D-Nick Drake[2]; 3. 19J-Jonathan Cornell[7]; 4. 7JR-Robert Black[3]; 5. 88J-Jace VanderWeerd[8]; 6. 3FF-Jake Blackhurst[6]; 7. 62-Jacob Davis[4]; 8. (DNF) 7M-Kevin Ramey[5]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 4F-Chad Frewaldt[1]; 2. 38-Justin Grant[3]; 3. 35T-Tyler Robbins[6]; 4. 56J-Isaac Schreurs[2]; 5. 44-Don Droud Jr[5]; 6. 05T-Gary Taylor[8]; 7. 7J-Shawn Jackson[7]; 8. (DNF) 85-Matt Johnson[4]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 2K-Kyle Jones[1]; 2. 82-Eric Johnson[2]; 3. 62T-Taylor Simas[8]; 4. 7CG-Logan Jarrett[4]; 5. 88W-Chad Wheeler[7]; 6. (DNF) 35Z-Zach Hampton[6]; 7. (DNF) 68S-Matt Land[5]; 8. 1-Sammy Swindell[3]….(Swindell DQ’d for losing a Muffler during competition)

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 92-Brenden Bright[4]; 2. 23A-Hannah Adair[1]; 3. 8-Alex Sewell[6]; 4. 4K-Josh Lakatos[7]; 5. 19L-Landon Hurst[8]; 6. 14W-Matt Westfall[5]; 7. 45K-Chase Allen[2]; 8. (DNF) 5A-Ashley Hazelton[3]

Heat 5 (8 Laps): 1. 37X-Tim Kent[1]; 2. 91-Jeff Stasa[3]; 3. 70K-Kevin Olson[2]; 4. 1T-Tony Roney[8]; 5. 11D-Dustin Hapka[4]; 6. 43-Logan Arnold[6]; 7. 7S-Pat Schudy[7]; 8. 51M-Michael Curtis[5]

Heat 6 (8 Laps): 1. 10C-Dalton Camfield[1]; 2. 17C-Casey Shuman[4]; 3. 18P-Payton Pierce[3]; 4. 75X-Travis Berryhill[6]; 5. 77-John Klabunde[5]; 6. 35W-Nate Wait[2]; 7. 55S-Jerry McGehee[8]; 8. D6-Dakota Gains[7]

Heat 7 (8 Laps): 1. 5E-James Edens[1]; 2. 8K-Blake Hahn[4]; 3. 9E-Brody Roa[6]; 4. 7T-Tanner Berryhill[5]; 5. 51X-Colby Copeland[7]; 6. 20X-Jimmy Harris[2]; 7. 7F-Claud Estes III[3]

Heat 8 (8 Laps): 1. 63K-Chris Windom[6]; 2. 12-Chris Sheil[1]; 3. 17D-Alex DeCamp[4]; 4. 4M-Ty Hulsey[3]; 5. (DNF) 16C-David Camfield Jr[5]; 6. (DNF) 55-Nick Knepper[7]; 7. (DNF) 2X-Charlie McDonald[2]

Heat 9 (8 Laps): 1. 66-Shane Cockrum[1]; 2. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[5]; 3. 13SR-John Ricketts[4]; 4. 14D-David McIntosh[7]; 5. 27RW-Kyle O’Gara[3]; 6. 5T-Tom Everhart[6]; 7. (DNF) 32-Cale Thomas[2]

Heat 10 (8 Laps): 1. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[1]; 2. 11W-Brady Bacon[3]; 3. 7B-Austin Brown[6]; 4. 7AB-Amber Balcaen[2]; 5. 33H-Cameron Hagin[4]; 6. 8M-Kade Morton[7]; 7. 15-Tim Siner[5]

Heat 11 (8 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[1]; 2. 73T-Trey Marcham[2]; 3. 68W-Jake Swanson[7]; 4. 15W-Brandon Waelti[5]; 5. 4C-Chadd Howell[6]; 6. 25D-Dylan Petersen[4]; 7. (DNF) 14R-Jody Rosenboom[3]

D-Features: Top 2 advance to corresponding C-Feature.

D Feature 1 (10 Laps): 1. 7M-Kevin Ramey[8]; 2. 15-Tim Siner[4]; 3. 85-Matt Johnson[9]; 4. 7S-Pat Schudy[3]; 5. 25D-Dylan Petersen[1]; 6. 7F-Claud Estes III[5]; 7. 20X-Jimmy Harris[2]; 8. (DNF) 5A-Ashley Hazelton[10]; 9. (DNF) 45K-Chase Allen[6]; DNS 32-Cale Thomas

D Feature 2 (10 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell[9]; 2. 35W-Nate Wait[1]; 3. 68S-Matt Land[3]; 4. D6-Dakota Gains[7]; 5. 14R-Jody Rosenboom[5]; 6. 51M-Michael Curtis[8]; 7. (DNF) 7J-Shawn Jackson[2]; 8. (DNF) 62-Jacob Davis[4]; 9. (DNF) 2X-Charlie McDonald[6]

C-Features: Top 4 advance to corresponding B-Feature.

C Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 51X-Colby Copeland[2]; 2. 15W-Brandon Waelti[1]; 3. 7M-Kevin Ramey[13]; 4. 7JR-Robert Black[3]; 5. 14W-Matt Westfall[12]; 6. 3FF-Jake Blackhurst[10]; 7. 15-Tim Siner[14]; 8. 8M-Kade Morton[9]; 9. 4C-Chadd Howell[4]; 10. 7AB-Amber Balcaen[5]; 11. 43-Logan Arnold[11]; 12. (DNF) 44-Don Droud Jr[6]; 13. (DNF) 33H-Cameron Hagin[8]; 14. (DNF) 16C-David Camfield Jr[7]

C Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 05T-Gary Taylor[5]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell[13]; 3. 88W-Chad Wheeler[1]; 4. 4M-Ty Hulsey[3]; 5. 27RW-Kyle O’Gara[9]; 6. 11D-Dustin Hapka[7]; 7. 77-John Klabunde[6]; 8. 35W-Nate Wait[14]; 9. 7CG-Logan Jarrett[2]; 10. 55-Nick Knepper[8]; 11. 56J-Isaac Schreurs[4]; 12. 55S-Jerry McGehee[12]; 13. 5T-Tom Everhart[11]; 14. (DNF) 35Z-Zach Hampton[10]

Qualifiers: Top 16 in combined passing points advance to the A-Feature.

Qualifier 1 (10 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[1]; 2. 91T-Tyler Thomas[3]; 3. 63K-Chris Windom[6]; 4. 11W-Brady Bacon[7]; 5. 10C-Dalton Camfield[2]; 6. 19J-Jonathan Cornell[5]; 7. 19L-Landon Hurst[10]; 8. 17D-Alex DeCamp[9]; 9. 82-Eric Johnson[8]; 10. (DNF) 35T-Tyler Robbins[4]

Qualifier 2 (10 Laps): 1. 1T-Tony Roney[1]; 2. 73T-Trey Marcham[8]; 3. 68W-Jake Swanson[5]; 4. 5E-James Edens[2]; 5. 8-Alex Sewell[4]; 6. 92-Brenden Bright[6]; 7. 4K-Josh Lakatos[7]; 8. 18P-Payton Pierce[10]; 9. 13SR-John Ricketts[9]; 10. (DNF) 4F-Chad Frewaldt[3]

Qualifier 3 (10 Laps): 1. 38-Justin Grant[1]; 2. 66-Shane Cockrum[2]; 3. 17C-Casey Shuman[5]; 4. 75X-Travis Berryhill[9]; 5. 62T-Taylor Simas[6]; 6. 9E-Brody Roa[4]; 7. 2K-Kyle Jones[3]; 8. 14D-David McIntosh[7]; 9. 70K-Kevin Olson[10]; 10. 23A-Hannah Adair[8]

Qualifier 4 (10 Laps): 1. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[2]; 2. 8K-Blake Hahn[5]; 3. 7B-Austin Brown[4]; 4. 37X-Tim Kent[3]; 5. 88J-Jace VanderWeerd[9]; 6. 12-Chris Sheil[8]; 7. 55D-Nick Drake[7]; 8. 91-Jeff Stasa[1]; 9. (DNF) 9P-Parker Price-Miller[6]; 10. (DNF) 7T-Tanner Berryhill[10]

B-Features: Top 4 advance to the A-Feature.

B Feature 1 (15 Laps): 1. 88J-Jace VanderWeerd[1]; 2. 5E-James Edens[2]; 3. 19L-Landon Hurst[5]; 4. 51X-Colby Copeland[13]; 5. 12-Chris Sheil[4]; 6. 91-Jeff Stasa[9]; 7. 15W-Brandon Waelti[14]; 8. 7M-Kevin Ramey[15]; 9. 9P-Parker Price-Miller[7]; 10. 19J-Jonathan Cornell[3]; 11. 2K-Kyle Jones[6]; 12. 23A-Hannah Adair[12]; 13. 13SR-John Ricketts[10]; 14. 7JR-Robert Black[16]; 15. (DNF) 18P-Payton Pierce[8]; 16. (DNF) 35T-Tyler Robbins[11]

B Feature 2 (15 Laps): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell[14]; 2. 55D-Nick Drake[6]; 3. 37X-Tim Kent[1]; 4. 9E-Brody Roa[4]; 5. 05T-Gary Taylor[13]; 6. 7T-Tanner Berryhill[12]; 7. 10C-Dalton Camfield[3]; 8. 17D-Alex DeCamp[7]; 9. 88W-Chad Wheeler[15]; 10. 4M-Ty Hulsey[16]; 11. 14D-David McIntosh[8]; 12. 4K-Josh Lakatos[5]; 13. 4F-Chad Frewaldt[11]; 14. 82-Eric Johnson[9]; 15. 70K-Kevin Olson[10]; 16. (DNF) 8-Alex Sewell[2]

A-Feature: Top 3 advance to Saturday’s A-Feature.

A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 97-Rico Abreu[6]; 2. 63K-Chris Windom[1]; 3. 1ST-J.J. Yeley[4]; 4. 8K-Blake Hahn[3]; 5. 1-Sammy Swindell[18]; 6. 73T-Trey Marcham[2]; 7. 17C-Casey Shuman[8]; 8. 51X-Colby Copeland[23]; 9. 91T-Tyler Thomas[9]; 10. 11W-Brady Bacon[13]; 11. 92-Brenden Bright[16]; 12. 68W-Jake Swanson[5]; 13. 5E-James Edens[19]; 14. 1T-Tony Roney[7]; 15. 88J-Jace VanderWeerd[17]; 16. 9E-Brody Roa[24]; 17. 38-Justin Grant[10]; 18. 19L-Landon Hurst[21]; 19. 37X-Tim Kent[22]; 20. 66-Shane Cockrum[11]; 21. 55D-Nick Drake[20]; 22. 7B-Austin Brown[14]; 23. (DNF) 75X-Travis Berryhill[12]; 24. (DNF) 62T-Taylor Simas[15]

Lap Leader(s): Chris Windom 1-14; Rico Abreu 15-25.

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AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”