By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter & NASCAR Contributor
FORT WORTH, Texas — Rico Abreu is hoping for a better result this time around in tonight’s Striping Technology 350 Texas Motor Speedway.
The driver of the #98 Safelite Auto Glass/Curb Records Toyota Tundra nearly won the last time the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series raced at the 1.5 mile oval in June. Abreu came to life late in the Rattlesnake 400 and closed in on race leader William Byron’s rear bumper with just three laps to go.
He stayed right in Byron’s tire tracks as he took the high lane heading into Turn 1 with two laps to go. Abreu brushed the wall and soon fell into the clutches of ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton.
He brushed the Turn 1 wall again on the last lap which slowed his pace even more and ultimately fell back to ninth place.
In hindsight, Abreu looks back at the race as a learning experience and is not kicking himself because of it. He also feels confident that if he can eliminate some mistakes, he can pull himself into contention to win races.
“I just got too close to him and didn’t make the greatest decisions which I know how to fix that,” he said. “I know if we put ourselves in contention, I can really make better decisions towards the ends of these races and that’s just what I have to do to win them.”
Heading into the tonight’s race, Abreu feels bullish about his chances. His ThorSport Racing team has returned the same truck that he nearly won with in June and feels that it is just as good now as it was then.
“ Yeah, I feel like our truck is really decent,” he said.
“I’m just looking for a solid finish. If we don’t put ourselves in contention to win I would at least say a solid top ten run would be happy for me.”
Abreu acknowledged that the tire degradation is going to be paramount which will make the racing difficult but should play into his favor.
“The longer the run goes I think the truck will get better,” he said. “I’m looking forward to being able to move around and the tire falloff and the times are going to fall – drop severe within a couple seconds.”
Rico qualified 15th in tonight’s race, two positions lower than where he started in June. The Striping Technology 350 is scheduled to start at 7:30 CST and will be aired live on Fox Sports 1.