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Abreu Drives Toyota to Wednesday Night Chili Bowl Win


Toyota RacingTULSA, Okla.(Jan. 17, 2019) – Rico Abreu took the lead on lap eight and pulled away from the field to win by almost two seconds over fellow Toyota driver David Gravel in Wednesday night’s Hard Rock Qualifying Night feature at the 33rd annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals at the Tulsa Expo Raceway. Both Toyota-powered drivers will advance directly to Saturday night’s A Main feature event. Overall, six Toyota drivers have advanced to Saturday’s feature race in the first three nights.

With the victory, Abreu becomes one of just six drivers ever to win four preliminary night features. It also marked the sixth win for a Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) prepared Toyota in the last seven preliminary night feature events.

On Wednesday night, Abreu started from the second position. After briefly falling back to third, he quickly regained the position and then set his sights on leader Cole Bodine. On lap eight, Abreu went low into three and powered past to take over the top spot coming out of turn four. At that point, Abreu would pull away from the field before being slowed by lapped traffic late with Gravel closing in. With Gravel in mirror, Abreu moved low to take away Gravel’s preferred line and drove off to a comfortable victory.

“I have a really good car and I’ve got the best in the business working on it with KKM,” said Abreu, a two-time Chili Bowl champion. “Keith Kunz has really built something special with Toyota and all of his sponsors. Tonight, we minimized our mistakes and that’s how we put ourselves into position to win back-to-back in 2015 and 2016. You don’t luck into winning the Chili Bowl. You have to be on your game and do everything right and just can’t make mistakes. I’m looking forward to Saturday. This is the biggest race of the year for me. The crowds this place has just makes it very special.”

Gravel started fourth and moved up into third on lap seven. It then became a three-car battle for second and the last transfer into Saturday’s feature. After slipping to fourth, Gravel pulled off one of the moves of the night by going low to overtake both Bodine and Tim McCreadie for the second spot – a position he would never relinquish.

Also standing out on Wednesday was 16-year-old Toyota driver Cannon McIntosh. The youngest driver in the field started from the eighth spot and climbed up to finish fifth in his first-ever run at the Chili Bowl. Colby Copeland was the fourth Toyota driver to earn a top-10 finish with a seventh-place showing. Both McIntosh and Copeland will begin Saturday’s event in the B.

Also advancing to Wednesday’s A Main were Blake Hahn (11th), Jason McDougal (19th), Holley Hollan (20th) and Tyler Thomas (22nd). Hahn ran in the top five for much of the early going, while both Hollan and Thomas were running in the top-10 before getting caught up in the same mid-race incident.

This year’s Chili Bowl features more than 360 entries – each fighting for one of the 24 openings in Saturday night’s A Main feature event. Qualifying continues for each of the next two nights with two-time defending champion Christopher Bell headlining seven Toyota-powered drivers expected to attempt to qualify on Thursday.

chili bowl

Toyota Wednesday Results


97 Rico Abreu

A Main – 1st

76G David Gravel

A Main – 2nd

08 Cannon McIntosh

A Main – 5th

87 Colby Copeland

A Main – 7th

52 Blake Hahn

A Main – 11th

15M Jason McDougal

A Main – 19th

67K Holley Hollan

A Main – 20th

91T Tyler Thomas

A Main – 22nd

1L Landon Simon

B Main – 8th

13M Dennis Gile

B Main – 13th

5T Presley Truedson

C Main – 10th

2J J.J. Yeley

C Main – 16th

 Remaining Toyota Qualifying Line-Up



5R Foster

1S Flick

25 Coons Jr.

2G Buckwalter

56X Chisholm

5S J. Elledge

71W Bell

27 Klaasmeyer

71X Haase

84X Boat

72K Johnson

97K Bayston

83 K. Elledge

 Toyota Powered Drivers Saturday Qualifying Positions  

Car #





Kyle Larson

Elk Grove, CA

A Main


Landon Simon

Brownsburg, IN

F Main


J.J. Yeley

Charlotte, NC

O Main


Zach Daum

Pocahontas, IL

A Main


Kyle Craker

Lewisberry, PA

E Main


Presley Truedson

Kennedy, MN

M Main


Cannon McIntosh

Broken Arrow, OK

B Main


Paul Nienhiser

Chapin, IL

C Main


Dennis Gile

Glendale, AZ

I Main


Jason McDougal

Broken Arrow, OK

E Main


Zane Hendricks

Stillwater, OK

O Main


Sterling Cling

Tempe, AZ

H Main


Blake Hahn

Sapulpa, OK

C Main


Logan Seavey

Sutter, CA

A Main


Holley Hollan

Tulsa, OK

D Main


Jesse Colwell

Cottonwood, CA

B Main


Tanner Carrick

Lincoln, CA

D Main


David Gravel

Watertown, CT

A Main


Brady Bacon

Broken Arrow, OK

A Main


Colby Copeland

Roseville, CA

B Main


Tanner Berryhill

Bixby, OK

C Main


Chris Andrews

Sandusky, OH

I Main


Tyler Thomas

Collinsville, OK

E Main


Hayden Williams

Auckland, NZ

E Main


Rico Abreu

Rutherford, CA

A Main