It’s official: Rico Abreu to drive Truck for ThorSport Racing

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Rico Abreu is signed, sealed and delivered to ThorSport Racing for the upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

At a press conference Friday morning at the site of this week’s Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Abreu confirmed earlier reports that he would join ThorSport as one of four drivers on the Truck series.

“This is one of the best opportunities I have been given,” Abreu said. “I appreciate the support and the hard work that everyone at ThorSport Racing and Curb Records has put into all of this for me to live my dream. I’m thankful to be a part of Duke’s (Thorson) team and am excited to race with all my ThorSport Racing teammates and crew members.
“My team, sponsors and fans will know that I’m giving 100% effort every time I’m at the track and on the track. My goal is to get the most out of every lap and every opportunity this season. I’m looking forward to meeting new fans and representing ThorSport and Toyota well.”
Added Duke Thorson, owner of ThorSport Racing, “We look forward to Rico joining our race team in 2016. Rico has proven himself at every level in racing to date, and is a winner and true racer in every sense of the word. He brings a style and attitude that reflects who we are, and what we are all about. We are prepared to give him every single opportunity to win, and look forward to seeing what he can do in his first full-time season in the Truck Series.”
Abreu, who turns 24 on Jan, 30, has made a quick rise through the NASCAR ranks. After winning last year’s Chili Bowl, he raced in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit. In 14 starts, he earned one win, four top fives, eight top 10s and three poles. He finished fifth in the final standings and was voted by fans as the series’ most popular driver. He then competed in two Truck races for NTS Racing, finishing 28th (crash) and 13th.

MORE: Report: Rico Abreu Gets Full Truck Series Ride For 2016 Season

“Competing full time in the NASCAR K&N East Series prepared me the most for this opportunity,” Abreu said. “My first time being in stock cars and getting a full season under my belt helped me understand how to race and put together full races, longer races, than I was used to running in open wheel cars.”

“It’s been a big change, being able to run all these different cars, going from Chili Bowl to New Smyrna. Greenville Pickens and Calistoga. It’s all a big change in different types of cars I ran. I won in every car I ran last year. I’m gonna get to do it again this year.”

Abreu will be teammates with Matt Crafton and fellow Truck Series newcomer Ben Rhodes. ThorSport is still looking to fill a fourth Truck.

“Rico brings a fresh perspective, a really refreshing way of how he drives and approaches the sport,” ThorSport vice president Matthew LaNeve said. “We’ll support him with the best people. We need to let Rico be Rico. The success and whatever PR around that will just follow along.”

LaNeve recently took Abreu and Crafton to a hockey game for a bonding session. They clicked right from the start.

“You can tell they’re just talking racing,” LaNeve said. “Rico’s an old soul racer. Those two kumbayaed from Day 1. Some people think they know it all. But Rico has attached himself (to Crafton).”

In addition to the opportunity he’s been given, Abreu is also thankful that he’s joined the oldest and most experienced organization in the Truck Series.

“I think that will speed it up,” Abreu said of his development as a driver. “They’re there to support you when you need it. It’s the right step.”

Abreu hopes to defend his Chili Bowl title in Saturday’s A-main final. But after that, he’ll get to Truckin’ quickly.

“I have some high goals for 2016,” he said. “My biggest thing is finishing. If you’re not finishing, you’re not learning.”

The Truck Series season opener is the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19.

Abreu’s career highlights:  

  • 2011 360 Winged Sprint Car Series Rookie of the Year
  • 2012 won the Trophy Cup at Thunderbowl Raceway
  • 2012 USAC National Midget Series Rookie of the Year
  • 2013 & 2014 Belleville Midget Nationals Winner
  • 2013 4 Crown Nationals Winner at Eldora Speedway
  • 2013 & 2014 Johnny Key Classic Winner – One of five drivers to win back-to-back titles
  • 2014 USAC Midget National Champion
  • 2015 Chili Bowl Winner
  • 2015 Pepsi Nationals Winner
  • 2015 NASCAR K&N Series Most Popular Driver

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