Larson Disqualified, Reutzel Rules Joliet

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Aaron Reutzel en route to victory at the Dirt Oval at Route 66. (Mark Funderburk photo)
Aaron Reutzel en route to victory at the Dirt Oval at Route 66. (Mark Funderburk photo)

JOLIET, Ill. — Kyle Larson was disqualified while leading Saturday night’s Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1/IRA Outlaw Sprint Series feature at the Dirt Oval at Route 66 and Aaron Reutzel drove from the fifth row to a $5,000 payday.

Reutzel romped through the field after rebuilding a destroyed race car as the result of a flip during the dash.

With the help of an array of sprint car teams scattered throughout the pit area, Reutzel and the familiar Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports No. 87 entry made the main event call.

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 standings, now with a two point lead over Dale Blaney.

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,” Reutzel said. “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.”

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.

Larson won the USAC midget feature later in the program.

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.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel [9]; 2. 11-Dale Blaney [10]; 3. 13-Paul McMahan [2]; 4. 26-Cory Eliason [11]; 5. 17B-Bill Balog [6]; 6. 70-Brock Zearfoss [5]; 7. W20-Greg Wilson [13]; 8. 99-Skylar Gee [8]; 9. 73AF-Joey Moughan [12]; 10. O7-Gerard McIntyre [21]; 11. 70X-Justin Peck [23]; 12. 65-Jordan Goldesberry [17]; 13. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [3]; 14. 9K-Kyle Schuett [18]; 15. 2W-Scotty Neitzel [24]; 16. 43-Jereme Schroeder [19]; 17. 23-Russel Borland [14]; 18. 71P-Parker Price-Miller [4]; 19. 64-Scotty Thiel [15]; 20. 57-Kyle Larson [1]; 21. 28-Brian Paulus [7]; 22. 5J-Jeremy Schultz [22]; 23. 40-George Hobaugh [16]; 24. 73-Ben Schmidt [20].

Lap Leaders: Kyle Larson (1-13), Aaron Reutzel (14-30)