CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — After winning the first two nights of competition at Atomic Speedway, Warrnambool, Australia’s James McFadden was a surefire favorite to claim the historic Saturday night payday and earn the weekend sweep, but defending Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 titleholder, Aaron Reutzel, had something to say.
Just one week after claiming the largest payday of his career, as well as the largest payday in Port Royal Speedway history, Clute, Texas’ Aaron Reutzel etched his name in another set of sprint car racing history books, doing so by scoring the second edition of the Dean Knittel Memorial at Atomic Speedway in Chillicothe, Ohio – the largest paying sprint car event in the track’s storied history.
Nearly sweeping the entire evening program at the ‘Fastest 3/8-Mile Dirt Track in the Nation,’ Aaron Reutzel earned his $12,554 score in fantastic fashion, ultimately leading all 30 circuits while holding off charges by current track championship point leader and former Atomic Speedway Ohio Sprint Speedweek feature winner, Cole Duncan.
The victory bumped Reutzel’s All Star season win total to 13, now with 22 on his career. On a side note, despite not winning all three events at Atomic Speedway, Reutzel’s speed was still the topic of conversation, as the Series win leader set ‘quick time’ during all three programs.
“This is really cool,” Aaron Reutzel said in victory lane, driver of the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports/Folkens Brothers Trucking/Fischer Body Shop/Hollywood Blasting and Coating/No. 87 sprint car. “Hats off to the entire Knittel Family for putting up this kind of money for us to race for. From one driver to the next, we really appreciate it.”
Although Reutzel was on the point for all 30 laps, Lockbourne, Ohio’s Cole Duncan did everything he could to drive around the current All Star Circuit of Champions point leader. A quick, but abrasive racing surface did make things difficult for Duncan, but on more than one occasion, the local favorite put himself in position to capitalize.
The main event’s second and final caution, the first being on lap two for Paul McMahan who stopped on the backstretch, set-up Duncan’s eventual late-race surge for the lead. Helping set Duncan’s stage, traffic entered the picture on lap 18 ultimately slowing Reutzel’s pace around the middle and top of the speedway.
By lap 21, Duncan was all over the back bumper of Aaron Reutzel, chasing the Texan as the duo started to enter slower traffic. Despite keeping pace with the defending All Star champion for the next three circuits, Reutzel soon discovered another gear, eventually finding a way to put a lapped car between himself and Duncan. The trend continued on lap 26 when Reutzel found his way around another slower car, now separating himself from Duncan with two lappers. By the time the final checkers flew, Reutzel’s command was nearly two seconds.
“I felt like I was good enough to win the last two nights, but I kinda gave them away,” Reutzel continued. “I got a phone call from the guys at Fischer Body Shop today and they were kinda giving me a hard time. I wanted to make sure I didn’t give this one up.”
Cole Duncan held on to finish second, followed by Jimmy Stinson, Chad Kemenah and Dale Blaney.
It was announced during opening ceremonies that the 2020 edition of the Dean Knittel Memorial will award a $15,554 top prize.
Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions will continue their final month of competition with one last multi-race road trip, and by no surprise considering their latest travel trends, the traveling sprint car wheelmen will hit the Keystone State, ready to invade Williams Grove Speedway and Lincoln Speedway, yet again, on Friday and Saturday, September 20 & 21. On top of that, Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Maryland, will host the All Stars on Sunday, September 22.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release & Photo