The 26-year-old Abbott picked up 90.23 points and is comfortably ahead of Adam Rippon by 7.29 points going into Sunday's free skate. Armin Mahbanoozadeh (80.66) was third.
Abbott, who was ninth at the 2010 Olympics, won national championships in 2009 and 2010.
Earlier Friday, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, going after a four-peat in the national dance competition, broke their world record in the short dance with a score of 76.89.
The reigning world champions were more than four points ahead of Maia and Alex Shibutani. The duo of Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (57.56) were far behind in third place.
The free dance portion is Saturday afternoon.