WAYNESFIELD, Ohio — Becoming the third different Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by C&R Racing main event winner in as many nights, Clute, Texas’ own Aaron Reutzel did what seemed to be the impossible on Sunday night during his visit to Waynesfield Raceway Park and drove around NASCAR star Kyle Larson to pick up his third Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event victory of the 2018 season.
Ending a chase that commenced on the opening circuit, Aaron Reutzel made his winning move on lap 19, ultimately driving around race-long leader Larson as the pair battled down the back straightaway. Reutzel was on the heels of the Elk Grove, Calif., native for a number of circuits before making his move, keeping his Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports machine within just a few car lengths as the duo raced through traffic that started to assemble as early as lap 13.
Once in command, it was semi-smooth sailing for Reutzel, keeping upwards of four lapped cars between himself and Larson for the rest of the 35-lap distance. Unfortunately for Larson, an abrasive surface that eventually led to a rubbered-up surface around the bottom of the speedway kept the recent Eldora winner from making up any ground on Reutzel.
Lockbourne, Ohio’s Cole Duncan crossed under the final checkers just behind Reutzel and Larson, followed by Dave Blaney and Speedweek opening night winner Paul McMahan.
“I was really hoping to get the jump during the initial start,” Aaron Reutzel said, driver of the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports/Folkens Brothers Trucking/Precision Catalyst/No. 87 entry. “Kyle (Larson) started to move down the track because he knew the rubber was coming. At that point, I was just searching for something else; anything I could do to get by him before things got locked-down. I think after I got by him, it was locked-down two laps later. I figured if I could get to the front, I would be OK, but you can never be too sure about Kyle. You can never count him out of anything.”
Aaron Reutzel and Kyle Larson led the field to green on Sunday night at Waynesfield Raceway Park. Larson earned the early jump, leading Reutzel, Duncan, and Spencer Bayston by the flagstand for the first time.
The first seven circuits went non-stop for Larson, just beginning to race into traffic when the main event’s first and only caution appeared on lap eight. Up until that point, Larson was in complete control, utilizing all lanes of the 1/3-mile, high-banked, dirt oval to maintain a quick pace.
After green flag conditions returned, Reutzel was able to keep Larson in range, actually moving in within a car length as the laps clicked near halfway. Reutzel’s winning move started one lap prior, using a big run off of turn four on the 18th circuit to pressure Larson in turns one and two. Reutzel’s momentum on the topside was greater than Larson’s through the middle, utilizing just enough boost from the thin, narrow cushion to drive by Larson on lap 19.
“John Folkens is actually with us here tonight. He is in the stands so I can’t thank him enough for what he does for this team. It’s really cool to get this done with him here,” Aaron Reutzel continued. “My team gave me a great race car here tonight. I just can’t thank everyone enough.”
Continuing the 36th edition of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by C&R Racing, the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 will switch directions and head east, set to invade a pair of ovals in the northeast corner of the state for Speedweek rounds four and five on Monday and Tuesday, June 18 & 19. Wayne County Speedway, just outside of Orrville, will be the next to host Tony Stewart’s All Stars on Monday evening, June 18.
Those who can not attend can still catch all of the action live on Speed Shift TV. Speed Shift TV will be conducting pay-per-view broadcasts for the duration of Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Those interested in learning more should visit Speed Shift TV on the Web at www.speedshifttv.com.
Wayne County Speedway will allow pit access at 10 a.m. on Monday morning. The mandatory All Star drivers meeting will take shape at 5:30 p.m., followed by hot laps at 6 p.m., sharp. Those seeking additional news and notes should visit Wayne County Speedway live on the Web at www.waynecountyspeedway.com.
-All Star Circuit of Champions Press Release
-Photo credit: All Star Circuit of Champions