Joliet, IL — Powered by perseverance, as well as a healthy serving of determination, Clute, Texas’ Aaron Reutzel did what some would consider the impossible on Saturday night during his visit to the Dirt Oval at Route 66 in Joliet, Ill., ultimately concluding his evening with an impressive charge from the inside of row five, all after rebuilding a destroyed race car as the result of a flip during his respective Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1/IRA Outlaw Sprint Series dash.
With the help of an array of sprint car teams scattered throughout the pit area, Aaron Reutzel and the familiar Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports, No. 87 entry made the main event call, eventually leading over half of the 30-lap program to score the $5,000 payday. The victory not only bumped Retuzel’s 2019 All Star Circuit of Champions win total to four, leading all competitors this season, but the win also bumped Reutzel back on top of the All Star driver championship standings, now with a two point lead over 2019 Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion, Hartford, Ohio’s Dale Blaney.
Incidentally, Dale Blaney finished second on Saturday night at Route 66, followed by Paul McMahan, Cory Eliason, and multi-time IRA champion, Bill Balog.
“What an effort by this team. I really can’t say enough about these guys. We weren’t sure what to do, but we ended up fixing the car that we flipped. Actually, if it wasn’t for everyone else jumping in to help us, I’m not sure we would have been able to get back out there without having to go to a back-up car. Being able to start ninth rather than 24th made all the difference,” Aaron Reutzel said, driver of the Folkens Brothers Trucking/Nattress Construction/Hollywood Coating & Blasting/No. 87 sprint car. “A big thanks to the entire Rudeen Racing team, Brian and Stacy Kemenah, Paul McMahan, Mike McGhee and his guys, Thomas Meseraull; they all helped us get things back together. What a group of guys out here traveling with the All Stars this year. They all jump in and help each other.”
Kyle Larson, who started from the pole position on Saturday night before leading the first 13 circuits, was eventually disqualified during a red flag break on lap 14. A work area violation forced the disqualification, as one of Larson’s crew members left the designated work area to speak with Larson under caution.
Regardless of Larson’s speed and eventual disqualification, Reutzel was a sure-fire favorite, as the defending All Star champion climbed ahead from ninth to fifth in just four circuits. By lap seven, Reutzel was third, charging his way around Paul Nienhiser and Parker Price-Miller as the trio battled in traffic.
A caution on lap 13 allowed Reutzel the opportunity to drive by Paul McMahan for second. Although the opportunity prevailed, action was soon halted yet again, this time for a red flag incident on lap 14. Larson’s aforementioned disqualification occurred at that time.
Although two additional red flag incidents would halt action on lap 22, and again on lap 30 – setting up a green-white-checkered finish – it was all Reutzel, pulling away every time to a commanding advantage.
“I felt like I was catching Kyle [Larson]. I’m not sure what kind of a pace he was keeping because I know when I got the lead, I slowed my pace down,” Aaron Reutzel continued. “I think I was just as good as Kyle was during that first half. I know we are tired of getting beat by him, and he doesn’t like to lose races. I’m sure it would have been a great race with us two up front.”
With the month of June officially in the books, Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions will now prepare for an action-packed month of July, kicking things off with an Independence Day weekend doubleheader on Friday and Saturday, July 5 & 6. The holiday weekend will commence on Friday evening, July 5, at Lernerville Speedway in Sarver, Pennsylvania. Originally slated for early May, the Lernerville visit was eventually canceled with only engine heat being completed. An early evening storm, which doused the entire facility, forced the eventual cancellation.
Action will move to Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, on Saturday, July 6. Honoring 2013 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, Lou Blaney, the coveted Lou Blaney Memorial will be on tap at the northeast Ohio venue, awarding a top prize equalling $6,000.
For more information pertaining to upcoming events at Lernerville Speedway and Sharon Speedway, fans should visit each facility online at www.lernerville.com and www.sharonspeedway.com.
Results: 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 2. 11-Dale Blaney ; 3. 13-Paul McMahan ; 4. 26-Cory Eliason ; 5. 17B-Bill Balog ; 6. 70-Brock Zearfoss ; 7. W20-Greg Wilson ; 8. 99-Skylar Gee ; 9. 73AF-Joey Moughan ; 10. O7-Gerard McIntyre ; 11. 70X-Justin Peck ; 12. 65-Jordan Goldesberry ; 13. 9X-Paul Nienhiser ; 14. 9K-Kyle Schuett ; 15. 2W-Scotty Neitzel ; 16. 43-Jereme Schroeder ; 17. 23-Russel Borland ; 18. 71P-Parker Price-Miller ; 19. 64-Scotty Thiel ; 20. 57-Kyle Larson ; 21. 28-Brian Paulus ; 22. 5J-Jeremy Schultz ; 23. 40-George Hobaugh ; 24. 73-Ben Schmidt  Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson (1-13), Aaron Reutzel (14-30)
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release & Photo