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Rico Abreu returns to championship form in Chili Bowl Night 3

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Rico Abreu returned to form last night during Night 3 of the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals to win his fourth preliminary in five years. The California Midget and Sprint Car driver won back-to-back Chili Bowls in 2015 and 2016.

When asked by ChiliBowl.com about regaining the confidence he had in 2015 and 2016, Abreu replied, “Yeah, I think so. I won those back to back years and I kind of had a slump year and came back to be competitive. Last year I felt I wasn’t as good as the top two but if the roles were reversed, I think if I was in a little better position I think where they could chase me instead of me chasing them. Because those two boys [Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson] – they don’t too many mistakes when they get out front. I think this year was a matter of just minimizing the mistakes”.

Last year’ Chili Bowl was Abreu’s first event back after sitting out more than 15 weeks following a crash at Eldora during the Four Crown Nationals.

Abreu started on the outside of the first row after winning his heat and qualifier. He lost a position on the first lap to Blake Hahn who was immediately challenging then-leader Cole Bodine.

The first caution of the night came on Lap 3 when Matt Westfall spun to avoid a crashing Chris Windom who slapped the wall on the frontstretch. Westfall rebounded; Windom’s damage sent him to the work area ending the 2017 USAC Sprint car champion’s night.

Hahn faded on the restart and by Lap 5, Abreu was back in second and closing in on the leader. On Lap 8, Abreu preformed a slider and executed the final lead change of the night.

World of Outlaws driver David Gravel took the second transfer spot in a hard fought battle for second. He grabbed the runner-up spot after a quick game of three-card monte with Bodine and TIm McCreadie – who faded to sixth at the checkers.

Bodine completed the podium after narrowly holding back Jake Swanson who advanced 14 positions in the 25-lap feature. Cannon McIntosh  rounded out the top five.

Former Chilli Bowl champion Sammy Swindell started fifth, but spun on Lap 9and finished 15th.

MORE: Kyle Larson wins Chili Bowl Night 2 

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Wednesday’s Results

1. Rico Abreu
2. David Gravel
3. Cole Bodine
4. Jake Swanson
5. Cannon McIntosh
6. Tim McCreadie
7. Colby Copeland
8. Ryan Smith
9. Robert Dalby
10. Daniel Robinson
11. Blake Hahn
12. Justin Peck
13. Aaron Reutzel
14. Alex Bright
15. Sammy Swindell
16. Tom Harris
17. Matt Westfall
18. Tristan Guardino
19. Jason McDougal
20. Holley Hollan
21. Geoff Ensign
22. Tyler Thomas
23. Chris Windom
24. Davey Ray

Michelin appoints new North American motorsports director

Michelin
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Michelin North America has named Tony Ménard as director of motorsports, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Ménard is succeeding Chris Baker, who has held the role for the past eight years. Baker is scheduled to retire in March of 2020, ending a lengthy career that began with Michelin in 1982.

“Chris has played a vital role in the growth and success of our motorsports program, both for BFGoodrich and Michelin in North America,” said Matthieu Bonardel, global director for Michelin Group’s motorsports business entity. “His passion and understanding for motorsport fueled growth in the organization and established credibility in the market. Chris’s leadership propelled the Group, which experienced tremendous success with race wins, and advanced the way the brands leveraged our motorsports participation to benefit the overall business.”

A native of Le Mans, France, Ménard has served in several positions during his 30-year career with Michelin, most recently serving global business leader for Michelin brand in the passenger-vehicle category. Ménard has worked closely with the North American motorsports team since early July in preparation for the transition.

Baker oversaw the development of the motorsports function for Michelin and BFGoodrich Tires brands as a single business unit in North America. He also directed the expansion of Michelin’s involvement in IMSA sports-car racing as the “Official Tire of IMSA” and BFGoodrich Tires partnership with SCORE International Racing as the “Official Tire of SCORE.”

During Baker’s tenure, BFGoodrich achieved an unprecedented 650 off-road class wins, including five overall victories in the Baja 1000. The brand also demonstrated performance in the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing, Ultra4 King of Hammers, and provided strong support of grass roots racing across North America with the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), National Auto Sport Association (NASA), and Super Production Challenge in Canada.

“I am incredibly grateful to Michelin for the opportunities and support throughout my career, and to all the folks that I have worked with and continue to work with,” Baker said. “I want to thank all the teams, partners, officials and fans who have made our relationships so successful and are essential to the brands’ successes. I look forward to witnessing the continued success of our motorsports programs under Tony’s leadership, as well as the contributions of the Michelin Motorsport North America staff and volunteers, who are completely dedicated and invested in representing our brands in competition.”