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Rico Abreu beats 335 other entrants to win second consecutive Chili Bowl Nationals

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Rico Abreu. Photo courtesy Jim Fluharty, NASCAR Illustrated

Perhaps you heard about the scuffle between an inebriated sheriff’s deputy and Tony Stewart at last weekend’s Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire, but that incident should not diminish the accomplishment of eventual race winner Rico Abreu, who successfully defended his 2015 event championship.

This year’s event was the 30th anniversary of the Chili Bowl and featured nearly 20,000 dirt race-loving spectators in attendance at the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Notable NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Kyle Larson, Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished fifth, 13th and 16th, respectively, with five-time past Champion Sammy Swindell starting 25th and finishing 18th. Tim McCreadie, the 2006 World of Outlaws Champion and 2006 Chili Bowl winner, finished sixth

Competition started with 20 feature races, N-1 and N-2 moving on through E-1 and E-2, with the top four from each race advancing to a starting position in the next letter round. Once the field was trimmed, rounds D1 and D-2 through B-1 and B-2 allowed the top six finishers to advance until a 25-car field was established for the A-Feature. Rico started fourth in the A-Feature and eventually took the lead on lap 45 of 55, beating out 2014 Champion Bryan Clauson and Zach Daum, who finished second and third, respectively.

Check out this video of Rico’s victory celebration:

Rico also announced at a news conference on Friday that he will be racing full-time in the NASCAR Truck Series in 2016 in the Thor Sport Racing/Curb Records number 98 Toyota Tundra. He had several starts during the 2015 season, but this year will be his first full-time ride in the NASCAR senior series. He is certainly one of the up-and-coming drivers in NASCAR, with a seat in the Sprint Cup series a virtual given within the next few years.

The 31st annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals are already set for January 10-14, 2017, with tickets going on sale this March 2nd. For continued updates, log onto