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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

INDYCAR: Pagenaud fastest in final practice at Iowa

Chris Owens/IndyCar
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After winning the pole position for the Iowa 300 earlier in the afternoon, Simon Pageanaud was fastest in this evening’s final practice session for the race, turning a lap of 174.462 mph around the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway bullring.

Pageneaud’s teammate Joesef Newgarden finished the session second-fastest, with an 173.775 mph lap. Newgarden was fastest in the first practice session earlier in the morning.

Ed Carpenter (172.636 mph), who is making his third start of the year this weekend in the No. 20 Chevrolet, completed the session third-fastest. Scott Dixon ended the session fourth-fastest with a 173.775 mph lap.

Conor Daly (170.316 mph) turned some heads and raised some eyebrows when he finished fifth-fastest in the session. Daly is making his second start of the season for Carlin Racing after a respectable 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport.

Colton Herta was sixth-fastest at the completion of the session with a 169.189 mph lap, while Marcus Ericsson (169.089 mph), Will Power (168.558 mph), Ryan Hunter-Reay (168.427 mph), and Alexander Rossi (168.326 mph) rounded out the top ten.

Live coverage of the Iowa 300 begins tomorrow evening at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Click here for full practice results

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