Rico Abreu, driver of the No. 98 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra, overcame adversity in his track debut at Gateway Motorsports Park (GMP) on Saturday, to bring home a 14th-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Drivin' for Linemen 200.
Abreu, who was forced to a back-up truck after a tire went down late in the first NCWTS practice session on Saturday afternoon, started 23rd for the 160-lap event when qualifying was cancelled due to rain, and the field was set based on the NASCAR rule book - a combination of both practice session speeds. Unfortunately, the trouble continued for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender under the pace laps, when Abreu realized the clutch on his Safelite Toyota Tundra wasn't working. Making multiple trips down pit road to to fix the issue, the Rutherford, California native would take the green flag from the 32nd position.
Abreu would work his way into the top-20 by lap 20, and the top-15 by lap 60 complaining of a "tight" Toyota Tundra. Crew chief Doug George brought the No. 98 Safelite/Curb Records machine to pit road, under caution, at lap 26 for four tires, and fuel, lap 66, for two tires, and a track bar adjustment, and lap 114 for four tires and fuel. Abreu, maintained a position inside the top-20 throughout the remainder of the race, and survived four caution periods, which included three red flags, to finish 14th behind race winner, Christopher Bell.
"This ThorSport Racing team overcame so much today, and I have to thank them for all their hard work. Fourteenth isn't what we came here to do, but to overcome everything we did today, not lose a lap, and finish 14th with a back-up truck, says a lot about what this team is made of. Track position was really important tonight, and really I just learned how to pass, and not be so tight behind guys in traffic. I can't thank Toyota, ThorSport Racing, and Safelite Auto Glass enough for this opportunity. We are just going to move on to Kentucky, and I feel like the mile-and-a-a-half tracks are where we've really excelled this year, so I'm looking forward to it."