NASCAR: Sprint car standout Rico Abreu to enter K&N East Series in 2015

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Three days after Rico Abreu captured his first victory in the prestigious Chili Bowl, the reigning USAC National Midget Champion is set to go into stock car racing this year.

As first reported by ESPN’s Ryan McGee, HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks will run the 22-year-old in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in 2015, expanding the team to a five-car operation.

The team confirms that Abreu will compete in all 14 series events in the No. 98 car while also continuing his open-wheel career.

“Joining HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks is a great opportunity for me,” Abreu said in a team release. “As a full-time open-wheel driver on dirt, I’m aware that there will be a learning curve for me this season.

“Knowing that Harry and Justin have faith in me to be successful in stock cars is a great confidence boost. I’m up for the challenge and look forward to learning from my teammates and making the most out of this season.”

Mardy Lindley, who guided current XFINITY Series driver Dylan Kwasniewski to the 2013 K&N East crown, will serve as Abreu’s crew chief for his program in the latter division.

Abreu may only be 4-foot-4 and weigh 95 pounds, but the sprint car set has long known that behind the wheel, he’s 100 percent dynamite.

A native of Rutherford, California, Abreu earned 26 wins across more than 100 open-wheel races last year that involved not just the aforementioned USAC midgets but also 410 (winged and non-winged) and 360 (winged) sprint cars.

His rise is all the more remarkable considering that his career in top-tier sprint car racing only began four years ago. As he admitted last summer in an interview with The Des Moines (Iowa) Register, he’s still new to it all.

“I don’t come from a racing background. I learn as I go. It’s been an adventure for sure,” he said to the Register.

Now, his adventure is about to get even bigger. His new K&N East bosses, Harry Scott Jr. and Justin Marks, are both ready to see where it leads.

“Rico has remarkable talent and is a great fit for this organization,” Scott said in today’s team release. “The addition of Rico to our stout lineup of drivers raises our level of excitement even higher going into the 2015 season.”

“Rico is a driver that has already proven to himself on so many levels in his young career,” Marks chimed in. “I can’t wait to see what Rico and his fellow teammates accomplish this year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.

Adam Cianciarulo serves notice with Monster Energy Cup win

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In his debut on a 450 Kawasaki, Adam Cianciarulo held off teammate Eli Tomac in a hotly contested final Main to win the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium: One race; one win.

“My first thought was, ‘what I life I get to live,’ ” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the race. “That whole race I knew (Eli) was behind me. We had a gap and I knew it was going to come down to the Joker Lane.”

For Cianciarulo, it was all about managing pressure. He earned the holeshot in the first and final Mains. In the first race, he lost his bike and the lead under the bridge. In the final Main, he withstood a fierce charge for 10 laps from one of the best riders ever in Supercross.

Tomac stalked Cianciarulo for eight laps. At one point, he made the pass, but Cianciarulo expertly executed a crossover move and retook the point in the same corner. Tomac knew he was going to have to change things up if he wanted to make a pass for the lead and the overall win.

“Going into the Joker, I couldn’t really ever make the pass stick, so I thought let me get in this thing a lap early and see if I can make the speed up on the track,” Tomac said after the race.

He had a reason to believe it would turn out in his favor because he used the tactic in the second Main and made up four spots on the track – advancing from seventh to fourth.

“Just the opportunity to race with Eli,” Cianciarulo continued from Victory Lane. “You know, he’s accomplished so much and just to be out there on the track with him. I’m just stoked to be out there with him.”

Cianciarulo would have been forgiven if he thought Las Vegas owed him something. Entering the Supercross season finale this year, he only needed a clean finish to win the 250 West championship. He crashed and handed the win over to Dylan Ferrandis, but instead of allowing that to frustrate him, Cianciarulo used it as motivation.

“(Winning this race) is a little bit of redemption, but to be honest with you I look at (the accident in) Vegas now after winning the outdoor motocross championship as something that helped me get there,” Cianciarulo said. “It’s helped me grow.”

With his overall win, Cianciarulo pocketed a $100,000 check. The payday could have been $1 million if any rider had been able to win all three Mains. Instead, three Mains featured three different riders. Tomac won the first Main, Malcolm Stewart the second, and Cianciarulo the third.

Tomac stormed to the lead in the first Main and was slicing through the field in Main 2 before he flipped his bike on a bad landing. He fell from challenging for the lead to 10th. Ten laps does not allow a lot of time to make up for a mistake, but Tomac was able to make up significant time by taking the Joker Lane one lap before Cianciarulo and Stewart.

Malcolm Stewart finished third in his return to Supercross racing. SupercrossLive.com

Stewart would win the second Main, completing a comeback nine months in the making. Early in the Supercross season, he crashed hard in Phoenix and broke his femur.

“I’ve been waiting nine months for all this; I’m just having fun out there.” Stewart said at the end of Main 2. “We’ve got another race to go and hopefully we’re on the top step, but if not, we’re already making dreams come true. I’ve already marked things off my checklist. It was just to win a Main Event.”

Entering the final Main Cianciarulo, Tomac, and Stewart were in a dead heat in regard to points. Cianciarulo finished second in the first two Mains, Tomac had a 1-3 with Stewart at a 3-1. The battle would be a “winner takes all” scenario.

How they finished in the final Main determined the overall result with Stewart finishing third in the race and overall standings.

Vince Friese had the ride of his life. With a 4-5-5, he finished fourth.

Friese was also trying to erase an injury-plagued season.

“I had a good (2019) season going,” Friese said. “I don’t think I got to show everything I had. It was frustrating getting hurt just a few races in and five months off the motorcycle is not fun, so I was hungry tonight.”

The World Champion Tim Gajser scored a 7-4-4 and rounded out the top five.

Dean Wilson crashed hard in the last lap of practice. He was transported to the hospital with a leg injury.

Evan Ferry won the Supermini division on the strength of winning both Mains. Gavin Towers and Myles Gilmore rounded out the top three.

In 250 Futures, Jett Lawrence won both Mains and the overall. Jalek Swoll and Brock Papi rounded out the top three.

Main 1 Results
Main 2 Results
Main 3 Results
Overall Results

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