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.