ATTICA, Ohio – The opening round of the 38th annual Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek Friday night at Attica Raceway Park saw a track regular school the touring All Star Circuit of Champions for the $5,000 victory.
Cap Henry, the current Attica point leader, topped a back-and-forth battle with leading USAC National Midget Series rookie Buddy Kofoid for his second career All Star win and first of the season.
Henry made the winning pass on the inside of turn four with six laps left, dispatching Kofoid, who returned to the seat of the Ed Neumeister Racing No. 11n for a rare sprint car appearance amid his busy summer midget schedule with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports.
From there, Henry drove away to the checkered flag by .890 seconds, collecting his third 410 sprint car victory at Attica this season and the eighth of his career at the third-mile clay oval.
After a raucous celebration atop the wing of his newly-schemed No. 4, Henry reined in a wave of emotions as he discussed one of the most-meaningful triumphs of his career.
“It was real hard [to stay focused],” admitted Henry in victory lane. “I was real nervous there, leading that restart, because I really wasn’t sure if what I was doing beforehand was right and I knew those guys [behind] were really fast. Buddy got by me, and he kind of pulled me a little bit, but we kept creeping in and creeping in, and traffic was just so hard to try and pass because you just couldn’t go anywhere.
“I knew I had to wait [for an opening] with Buddy, and then when I got next to him I knew I had to go, because I knew I couldn’t give him the opportunity to take our line away,” Henry added. “I was really anxious the last five laps, but I knew we’ve had great opportunities with this team and we’ve just continued to make the most of those.
“This is incredible. I’ve come so close to winning one of these Speedweek races here and to finally knock one off is way cool.”
While Kofoid started from the pole after winning the first of twin Dashes earlier in the night, it was All Star point leader Aaron Reutzel who shot to the point on the opening revolution off the outside lane.
Reutzel then opened up a comfortable advantage in the early going, but it was Henry who stalked him into lap traffic after taking second from Kofoid at the end of lap three.
Henry ran down Reutzel from a second back, then stalked the back of the familiar No. 87 until making his first bid for the lead on the 12th round, diving to the bottom and clearing Reutzel for the position.
Kofoid took advantage of the break in Reutzel’s momentum to close back in, retaking second with 16 laps scored as Reutzel began to fade back into the clutches of the incoming pack.
At halfway, Henry held a comfortable gap over Kofoid, but a yellow for the spinning car of Duane Zablocki in turn two – which nearly collected third-running Cale Thomas – slowed the pace and set up a restart with 20 to go that nearly changed the entire narrative.
When the green flag returned, Kofoid fired off from the outside lane with a big run, wresting command of the feature away from Henry on the outside and attempting to set sail as the laps wound down.
Kofoid opened up more than a second over Henry, but with eight laps left, slower traffic opened the door back up and allowed Henry to pounce once more. A one-second gap became eight tenths, then seven tenths and with six to go, it was less than a car length between the lead pair.
Henry got alongside Kofoid exiting turn two and drag raced the 18-year-old down the backstretch before clearing him in turns three and four to lead lap 35 and never looking back after that.
Kofoid ended as the runner-up, ahead of Reutzel, Thomas and Cale Conley.
Paul McMahan crossed sixth, followed by Greg Wilson, Stuart Brubaker, Jac Haudenschild and Lee Jacobs.
Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires continues Saturday night at Fremont Speedway. Reutzel is the defending All Star winner at the Sandusky County Fairgrounds track.
A-Feature (30 laps): 1. 4-Cap Henry , 2. 11n-Buddy Kofoid , 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel , 4. 91-Cale Thomas , 5. 3c-Cale Conley , 6. 13-Paul McMahan , 7. W20-Greg Wilson , 8. 35-Stuart Brubaker , 9. 3-Jac Haudenschild , 10. 81-Lee Jacobs , 11. 09-Craig Mintz , 12. 11-Zeb Wise , 13. 16-D.J. Foos , 14. 17-Josh Baughman , 15. 99-Skylar Gee , 16. 9j-Dean Jacobs , 17. 8m-T.J. Michael , 18. 26-Cory Eliason , 19. 68g-Tyler Gunn , 20. 7bc-Tyler Courtney , 21. 28-Tim Shaffer , 22. 9z-Duane Zablocki , 23. 1-Nate Dussel , 24. 83m-Broc Martin .
Lap Leader(s): Aaron Reutzel 1-11, Cap Henry 12-20, Buddy Kofoid 21-34, Cap Henry 35-40.
Hard Charger: W20-Greg Wilson (+16)
Sprint Car & Midget’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek coverage is presented by Cometic Gasket Inc., a leading worldwide supplier of gaskets and engine sealing solutions for the automotive performance, powersports, original equipment and remanufactured engine industries. No matter what you ride, Cometic Gasket can seal your machine so you can focus on the finish line.
Since 1989, Cometic has been living, breathing, and eating powersports. As a proud supporters of GNCC, AMA, NASCAR, and other race-teams across the country, Cometic understands what it takes to put everything on the line with one goal in mind. When you earn your living racing at the highest level against the best in the country, engine failures simply aren’t an option. Champions across the world continue to use Cometic Gasket for their engine-sealing solutions. Whether they’re driving a Gen-6 stock car or riding a top fuel motorcycle, Cometic Gaskets are the reliable source in extreme conditions.
For more information on Cometic Gasket Inc., visit www.cometic.com.