All Star Double for Reutzel after Runner-Up Finish in Sprint Car World Championship
Lonnie Wheatley, CLUTE, Texas (May 3, 2018) – Aaron Reutzel and the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports No. 87 Sprint Car team were so tantalizingly close to the $100,000 winner’s share in last weekend’s Sprint Car World Championship at Ohio’s Mansfield Motorsports Park.
But, after settling for a lucrative $20,000 runner-up share among the stellar field of more than 70 entries, it’s back to All Star Circuit of Champions action for the Folkens Brothers Tucking/Dissolvalloy Downhole Revolution Triple-X Sprint Car team this weekend with events at Sarver, Pennsylvania’s Lernerville Speedway on Friday and then Hartford, Ohio’s Sharon Speedway on Saturday.
Both tracks will be new territory for Reutzel and the Precision Catalyst/Hollywood Blasting & Coating/Beard Equipment crew that enters the weekend just six points out of the All Star points lead in second.
Last weekend’s Sprint Car World Championship had Reutzel in the mix throughout, racing to a second-place finish in his preliminary feature on Friday night and then making a last-gasp bid for the $100,000 winner’s share in Saturday night’s finale that fell just short.
“Tim (Shaffer) was fast, there’s no two ways about it,” Reutzel explains. “He was the guy to beat all weekend, he set the tone in Thursday night’s practice.”
Reutzel started his weekend in strong fashion as well aboard the Nattress Construction/Momentum Racing Suspensions entry, timing in second among his group on Friday and then earning the ninth starting position for the feature after a third-place heat race run.
“We got to fifth pretty quick, so I started taking it kinda easy thinking that we could get in the top four without any problem,” Reutzel relates. “Some guys got to racing us so I had to pick it up and got to second right away.”
Reutzel held second the rest of the way to lock into the Saturday finale, though it wasn’t without some tense moments in the final rounds.
“With two laps to go, it started to run out of fuel,” Reutzel says. “It was completely out at the end, we coasted across the line. We just barely finished it.”
Reutzel drew the front row for Saturday’s Dash and finished second to earn the front row outside starting position.
“We tried a couple of things in the Dash and liked it,” Reutzel says. “But, it still took all I had just to keep up with Shaffer.”
Reutzel took a conservative approach over the early portion of the 50-lapper to save the best for last.
“I cruised the first 25 laps to save my tires, I tried to not spin them and stayed away from the cushion that was hurting some tires,” Reutzel explains. “I waited until about 20 laps to go to push him and try to make a move for the lead.”
Cautions didn’t exactly play into Reutzel’s plans.
“I would get to him, then there would be a caution,” Reutzel recalls. “It would take about five or six laps to get going again.”
One final caution set up the dramatic finish.
“I got a really good start, I got right to him and he blocked my slider, not even knowing I was there,” Reutzel relates.
“Then I got another run coming to the checkered,” Reutzel says of the final circuit. “I bonzaied it with everything I had, it almost worked but I got into the fence. All in all, it was still a good weekend to come away with $20,000.”
It was a memorable effort that left fans wanting more. They’ll get more with this weekend’s pair of All Star events.
2018 Quick Stats: 14 races, 1 win, 5 top-fives, 7 top-tens.
Up Next: All Star Circuit of Champions at Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) on Friday night and Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) on Saturday night.
Keep Track: Keep track of Aaron Reutzel’s on-track action including schedule and results at http://www.aaronreutzelracing.com/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aaron-Reutzel-Racing/117666254913127 or on Twitter at @AaronReutzel. You can also e-mail Aaron at email@example.com.
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Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on www.sprintcarmania.com, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events. For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at email@example.com.
(Trent Gower photo)