Championship(s): 2014 USAC Midget National Champion
Rico was introduced to outlaw karts for the first time in 2003 when he attended a race in Vallejo, California with sprint car driver Jeff Griffin. As Griffin raced the powerful 500cc kart, Rico fell in love with the excitement and competition provided and knew this was the perfect place for him to be racing. On his 15th birthday Rico was presented with his first outlaw kart. Again he headed out to the track on his property and spent the next year practicing with Griffin and others until he knew he was ready to go racing for real. On January 24, 2009, Rico made his debut in a 250cc outlaw kart at Lakeport Indoor Speedway, where he finished a very respectable fourth.
Two months later, soon after he turned 17, Rico returned to Lakeport and improved to a second place finish in the feature. Rico then ventured to the birthplace of outlaw karts and raced against the toughest competition anywhere, the indoor bullring of Red Bluff. At his second race there, competing against the largest kart count of the season in the West Coast Outlaw Kart Nationals, Rico qualified for the A-main event, where he finished 16th.
In April, Rico’s racing shifted outdoors to the high speed Cycleland Speedway, near Chico, California. In his first effort to compete in a season long series, Rico showed that the 80 mile per hour speeds of Cycleland suited his emerging style, that of a hard charger, very well. He ran every event of the 17 race series in the 250cc division and finished a noteworthy 10th in points in his rookie outing. At the fourth race of the season Rico also stepped up to the 500cc Intermediate class, racing both divisions to season’s end. In the very competitive Intermediate division Rico found much success, with the highlight being his first ever win on August 29th, taking the biggest event of the year-the Perpetual Trophy Race. Several other top ten finishes punctuated the season long effort.
In October of 2009 Rico returned to the Red Bluff Outlaws Indoor Series to tackle his first full season of points racing competition there, electing to contest the 250cc division. After battling his way to an 11th place finish in points he topped the season long campaign with another strong showing at the West Coast Nationals, where he placed a very strong third in the final rundown. Even more impressive, at the Nationals Rico also competed in the top class of outlaw karting, the 500cc Open Outlaw Division, and came home with an outstanding fourth place finish against 67 entries.
Another highlight of the winter season for Rico was an excursion to the largest and most prestigious event of its kind in the country, the Tulsa Shootout in Oklahoma on New Year’s weekend. With drivers from all over the United States on hand on the biggest and fastest speedway that outlaw karts compete, the same race track that the famed Chili Bowl Midget Nationals are held, Rico charged from deep in the field to finish fourth in the finale.
In 2011 Rico started running pretty much full-time in any all sprintcars and Midgets…..He would finish 3rd in Taco Bravo Ocean Speedway Sprint Series with his best finishes at the track being two 2nd place finishes the first on July 29th and the other one on August 19. He would also get two 3rd place finishes on May 6th and July 8th. Rico would end the year with 7 top 5’s and 15 top 10’s. Rico won ROY at Ocean Speedway in Taco Bravo Sprint Series. He would also head to Australia for the first time to race during the winter.
He would experience his first 360 and 410 sprint car wins in 2012. He would get his first 360 win on April 27th at Silver Dollar Speedway Friday Night show. Would get his first 410 Sprint Car win two weeks later on May 12th at Thunderbowl Speedway on the King of the West action. What was so memorable about the win is Rico jumped from the wing into the waiting arms of Brent Kaeding it was one of the best scenes I have ever seen. Everyone loves Rico and his style of driving. He would come back just two weeks later to get his 2nd 410 Sprint win of the year this time at Calistoga Speedway in King of the West Sprint Series. He would end his year on a good night getting the Friday Night win at Trophy Cup on October 19th. Rico would start his career in Midgets and he started winning right away. His 1st Midget win came at Angel Park Speedway on POWRi Midget Series. He would win two more times on July 28th at Junction Speedway and then also in August 12th Belle-Clair Speedway. On September 2nd he also won in USAC Western States Midget series at Calistoga Speedway. He ended the year with 15 top 5’s and 16 top 10’s and 8 Wins on the year. Rico would add ROY in USAC National Midget Series and would make the Chili Bowl A Main for the first time.
In 2013 he the full King of the West Championship with Paul Silva as his crew chief. Rico started his 2013 season off at Canyon Park Speedway with the USAC Midgets on March 1st and 2nd. On Friday night he would bring home the Keith Kunz #67 in 5th and on Saturday night he would finish second to Bryan Clauson. It was off to Las Vegas and run with the World of Outlaws on March 6th and 7th. On Wednesday Night Rico would make the A and finish 21st and on Thursday again he would make the A main and finish 24th. On Friday Night March 8th Rico ran just one night of the Silver Cup in Chico, California and finish 14th in the main. It was back to running with the Outlaws on their West Coast swing to start the year. Next were the two nights at Tulare where Rico made the A main both nights to finish 9th on Friday and 15th on Saturday night. On March 22nd at the brand new dirt track at Stockton California Rico finished 18th in the A main with the WoO. The next night was the prestigious Mini-Gold Cup in Chico, California and Rico would have issues and DNF picking up 24th place in the A Main. He would bounce back the following week on Friday March 29th at Merced where he would get a top 10 by finishing 6th his best finish with the WoO in 2013. On the next night at Antioch Speedway running the opening event with the 360 Sprint Series the Civil War he would finish 7th. The Next week Rico would find himself back at Antioch with the WoO where he would end up 13th in the A Main. The following night at Placerville Speedway on April 6th he would end up 10th in the 360 Sprint show. ON April 12th at Kings Speedway in Hanford, California with the WoO Rico would make the A Main and finish 20th. The very next night at Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare running with the 360 Rebel Cup series Rico would pick up his 1st win of the year. It would be the start of some great finishes for Rico. The following weekend Rico would be on the podium both nights with a 2nd at Silver Dollar Speedway on Friday night in the 410 series and then a 3rd in the opening night of the King of the West series at Antioch Speedway. On April 26th and 27th Rico would again find himself inside the top ten barely. On Friday night at Chico he would get 9th in the 410 A main. On Saturday Night in the 2nd KWS series race at Placerville Speedway he would end up 10th. The next weekend is one of the best weekends in the state of California for one reason cause it’s the Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial race and everyone wants to win this one. On Friday night at the Night before the Bradway Rico would get 3rd in the 410 feature. With 41 cars qualifying for the Dave Bradway Jr race with all the great drivers from the state and then add in heavy hitters being flown in like Shane Stewart and Christopher Bell you knew who ever won this would be big. Rico was patient and was 2nd to Stewart for most of the race when on lap 32 Stewart had engine issues and pulled off and that left Rico in the lead which he would not give up to win maybe the biggest race of his your career. That would start a nice string of top five finishes. On May 10th at Silver Dollar Speedway Rico would end up 5th, which will be his worst finish in weeks. Cause the next three he was just the man. On Saturday night May 11th at Petaluma Speedway in the King of the West he would be 3rd. The next weekend was a double header in Fernley, Nevada for the King of the West series and Rico would dominate. On Friday night he wins his heat race and then goes out and simply dominates the feature to pick up his 3rd win of the year. On Saturday night it looked like he might sweep but the veteran Jonathan Allard would get by him and go on to win with Rico finishing 2nd.
On June 20-22nd at the Jim Raper Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway Rico scored 3rd place podium finishes on Saturday the 22nd. In the first race a Prelim race in the Afternoon Rico didn’t let the dusty rack stop him from having a great run and then came back that evening for the big race and just put on a show and scored his first podium finish at the Dirt Cup with a 3rd. Then he got on a plane and flew to Wisconsin and won the POWRi Midget race at Angell Park on Sunday Night the 23rd of June. August 1st Rico powered his Keth Kunz Midget to victory lane in the opening night of the Belleville Midget Nationals. On August 23rd at Silver Dollar Speedway Rico would score 2nd in the 410 Sprint car race and then followed that up with a win the following night at the Johnny Key Classic at Ocean Speedway. On September 27th and 28th it was off to the Fall Nationals at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California. Rico would get a 4th place finish in the main on Friday Night and then on Saturday came back to a 3rd on Saturday Night. On the final race of the 2013 season at Stockton Dirt Track Rico would run both his 360 and his 410. In King of the west Man that night Rico would pick up the win and then in the Civil War Finale he would end up 2nd just missing out on the double for the night. Rico ended the year running 102 races with 12 Wins in 3 different classes..7 wins in Midgets, 3 410 Sprint wins and two 360 wins. He would also add 46 Top 5’s and 63 Top 10’s…..
Rico wasted no time getting the 2014 season off with bang to the tune of $13,000 in winnings. He won the first 2 ASCS National races at Cocopah Speedway to start the season off on the right foot. Talk about staying hot after back-to-back wins with the ASCS National tour, Rico shows up on Saturday of the Silver Cup and wins that event and then On March 15th at Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare, California running with the WoO he picks up his first WoO victory. You can’t get off to a much better start to the 2014 season than Rico did. Friday night March 21st Rico kept it rolling with another win this time in the 360 Sprint at Stockton 99 Speedway in Stockton, California the night before the WoO show on Saturday.
On April 11th and 12th the opening weekend of the USAC National Midget series all Rico did was win both nights aboard the famous Keith Kunz midget car at the famed Kokomo Speedway.
April 19th at Placerville Speedway in the 2nd King of the West race of the season Rico kept his sizzling start to the 2014 season going scoring another victory beating Logan Forler for the win.
May 3rd at Silver Dollar Speedway Rico would pick up the Dave Bradway Memorial Race win with the King of the West. June 14th he would pick up a win at the historic Midget Week in Indiana at Lawrenceburg Speedway. On June 21st he would get his 10th win of the year winning at Calistoga Speedway in the King of the West Series. Nine days later he would get his first ASCS NW win during Speedweek at Southern Oregon Speedway. In July he would get another Speedweek win this time in the MOWA Sprint Car series his 3rd Speedweek win in three different classes 410, 360 sprints and Midgets. Would head up to Husets Speedway in South Dakota and win the 410 Feature on July 27th. Came back to the west coast and preceded to win the Johnny Key Classic/Civil War Series at Ocean Speedway one of the Crown Jewels for 360’s in California. Then it came time for the Louie Vermiel Classic at Calistoga where Rico would race both the 410 Non-Wing USAC/CRA cars and also the USAC Western Midget series. On August 30th he would pick up the Midget win and follow that up the following night August 31st with the USAC/CRA win. In September he would travel back to the midwest and win again in the MOWA series at Spoon River Speedway at Canton, Illinois. October would come and Rico would pick up another win in another month in another series, this time in the SOD Sprint Series in a 410 at Plymouth Speedway in Plymouth, Indiana. MOWA would see Rico again and again he would get the win his 22nd on the year this time at Lincoln Speedway in Lincoln, Illinois on October 10th. On the very next night October 11th at Eldora Speedway Rico would get his first All-Star Sprint Series win and then come all the way back to west coast and win the last Civil War Series event of the year on November 1st at Stockton Dirt Track.
Here is his year in a nut shell….He won a race in 10 different months and all in a row…starting it off in February and ending in November. He would pick up 25 wins in 10 different series or events. He won in a 410 Sprint car both winged and non-wing, won in a 360 sprint, he also won in a Midget. He won the USAC Midget championship for the 2014 year. He would win 11 heats, 5 B Mains and also 2 Dash races. He would have 53 top 5’s and 71 top 10’s for the year in 105 Races. He won the Belleville Nationals, The Dave Bradway Memorial race and also the Tyler Wolf Memorial race in August. He also was named the USAC National Midget Week Champion.
He started the 2015 season off the best way a driver of his ability can at the Chili Bowl. He won his qualifying night on January 14th and then Saturday the 17th in the A main for all the marbles he passed good friend Bryan Clausen and held off Kevin Swindell to win his first Chili Bowl Nationals win and it was maybe the most popular win at the event. The crowd went ballistic as Rico jumped into the arms of his car owner Keith Kunz, it was awesome.
He was just getting started as the WoO comes out for the annual California swing and Rico didn’t waste any time showing the boys how its done winning on March 14th at the Thunderbowl Speedway in Tulare. Then a week later at Stockton Dirt Track on March 22nd he would get his 2nd WoO win on the year and 3rd of his career. On March 27th at Silver Dollar Speedway Rico Picked up the 360 Sprint car win on the night. So before April has even started Rico already has 5 wins on the year. Rico would another Special Event Feature to his sterling resume with the Bill Brownell Memorial on April 24th….Rico loves running in the midwest and would head out and join the MOWA 410 series and pick up his 4th career win in the series on June 5 at Jacksonville Speedway. It was onto USAC Indiana Midget Week and picking up the win at Lawrenceburg Speedway. On July 4th Rico who was running the full NASCAR K&N Pro Series would find the winners Circle at Columbus Motor Speedway. Then on the very next night at Angel Park Speedway he would pick up his 2nd career win at the track in the POWRi Midget Series. On July 10th at Dodge County Fairgrounds Rico would pick up his 1st IRA Sprint Series win at the 16th Annual Rick Schmidt Memorial Race. Picking up another win his 5th career win on MOWA competition at Quincy Raceway. Rico the defending champion at the Belleville Nationals won opening night on July 30. On August 18th and 19th Rico would add his 5th and 6th USAC Midget wins on the year with wins at Path Valley and Lincoln Speedway in Pennsylvania. Rico loves coming back home that being California and run the Louie Vermeil Classic and all he did was win both nights of the classic in USAC/Western Midget Series on Sept 5th and 6th, and also added the USAC/CRA 410 non-wing series win on Sept 6th. Rico goes back to the midwest and adds another win in MOWA competition for win number 19 on the season….Rico added another win by getting the opening night win of the Trophy Cup. It ended his year with 20 wins in 4 different classes, 9 different organizations….he would get in 107 races with 44 Top 5’s and 59 Top 10’s. 29th annual Chili Boel Champion and was voted the NASCAR K&N Most popular Driver….Since 2012 Rico has now accumulated 65 Total Wins….
Rico loves the Chili Bowl and he again would win his Qualifying night and then capped it off by winning the 30th Annual Chili Bowl and doing probably the most epic victory celebration of all time…..also whats so iconic is he beat his friend Bryan Clausen and there was the scene of Rico Jumping from the top of his Midget right into the arms of Clausen who came over to congratulate…..Clausen was beyond a class act and that’s why just 8 months later we would lose Clausen in an accident o the track at the Belleville Nationals….it was two in a row for Rico and he was and still is the most popular winner of this great race. Rico would come back to the west coast and score a weekend sweep with a Friday win on April 15 at Silver Dollar Speedway in his 410 at Chico and then jumped back into his 360 and went to Placerville Speedway where he held of Mason Moore to score the win. It was off to the East Coast and Rico would run some races with the All-Star Circuit of Champions 410 Series and win at Wayne County Speedway….He would then move onto one of his favorite weeks the USAC Midget Week and he would again pick up a win on June 5 at Kokomo Speedway. His next two wins would come with the All-Star Circuit of Champions first on June 20th again at Wayne County Speedway….then the following month he would score another win at Kokomo Speedway in his winged 410 sprint car. He would join the WoO for the next couple of months with side trips to run his Keith Kunz Midget. He got two wins within 6 days with the WoO first at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in the Ironman 55 and then he won his qualifying night at the Knoxville Nationals. Then Rico headed to Badlands Motor Speedway for the $50,000 to win 410 Winged Sprint race. That’s exactly what he did and pocketed his biggest payday of his career…..Then 21 days later pocketed another $25,000 for winning the famed Gold Cup in Chico, California for his 3rd WoO win in just over a month and $95,000 in winnings. He would go back to the east coast and score another win for his boss Kieth Kunz driving the #97 USAC/Midget to victory at Eldora Speedway. On October 8th at Eldora just two weeks later he would score an NRA 360 Sprint Series win. Rico would sweep the King of the West 2-day show and scoring his first Cotton Classic on October 15 and 16th to end his year on a winning note and with 16 wins…..Rico saw his total win total grow to 81 wins for his career…He would enter into 92 races his lowest total in a few years, but still a huge schedule…to go along with the 16 wins he had 33 Top 5’s and 45 Top 10’s on the year.
2017 saw him race a little less only 79 times but still picking up 11 wins….He started off the year not scoring his first win until April 8 at Arizona Speedway in WoO action. It would be his 7th WoO win of his career…2017 saw a brand new 360 Sprint Series start up in California and his family becoming part of the series called the Sprint Car Challenge Tour. He would get the win on April 21st at Tulare’s Thunderbowl Raceway. He would score his 2nd Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial win in the very popular and important event in California. He would then head out to the midwest and score another victory during the USAC Midget Week again at Lawrenceburg Speedway in the Keith Kunz #21. He would pick up his first PA Speedweek win on July 9th at Selinsgrove Speedway. It was onto Mansfield Speedway where he would win on one of the best last lap passes on Spencer Bayston to get the open 410 Sprint car show. He would pick up one more win in July this time with the MOWA 410 Series at Jacksonville Speedway on July 28th. In August Rico would join the All-Star Series for a few races and get the win at Atomic Speedway on August 25th. His last two wins for the year were at one of his favorite events of the year the Louie Vermeil Classic. On Sunday Night September 3rd he would win both Mains that night the 410 non-wing USAC/CRA race and then earlier he won the USAC/Western Midget race in his Keith Kunz Midget for his 10th and 11th win on the year. Rico had 31 Top 5’s and 47 Top 10’s…..he ran his win total to 92 for his young Career.
Nickname: Speed Rico
Hometown: Rutherford, California
Car #: 89, 24, 67, 97, 8
Car Owner: 89 & 24 Abreu Vineyards, 67 & 97 Keith Kunz