Reutzel Gets No. 11 In Bedford Sprint

Aaron Reutzel, shown earlier this season, won Saturday's All Star sprint car feature at Atomic Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)
Aaron Reutzel, shown earlier this season, won Saturday's All Star sprint car feature at Atomic Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

BEDFORD, Pa. — Aaron Reutzel’s march toward a second consecutive Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 title has been rocky at times, but the Clute, Texas-native gave open wheel fans all the reason to leave their doubts behind on Thursday night at Bedford Speedway.

Reutzel led all 30 laps around the half-mile oval to secure his series-best 11th victory.

The win, accompanied by a $5,000 payday, also allowed Reutzel to snip away at Dale Blaney’s All Star championship point lead, this time narrowing the six-time champ’s command to just 16 markers with two events remaining this weekend.

Three-time Knoxville Raceway track champion Brian Brown chased Reutzel to the checkered flag, followed by Kasey Kahne Racing’s James McFadden, Blaney and hard-charging Danny Dietrich, who rallied eight positions to find the top five.

“Hell of a run for this team,” Reutzel explained, driver of the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports/Folkens Brothers Trucking/Fischer Body Shop/Hollywood Blasting & Coating/No. 87 sprint car. “We were great all night; unloaded with a fast hot rod. We’ve had a lot of heartbreak this year, but we always bounce back and get wins. That just goes to show what kind of a team effort we have here.”

Reutzel’s campaign from the pole encountered spressure from Brown, but not until after the midpoint of the 30-lap program. In fact, Reutzel’s lead was just over three seconds by the time the leaders received the crossed flags; it was down to less than three-quarters of second by lap 23.

A caution on lap 25 for a slowing Trey Starks, who was fourth at the time, created a momentum shift for Reutzel and served as the break that Brown needed. Unfortunately for Brown, a clear track and clean air created the perfect recipe for Reutzel, immediately blasting away to a comfortable lead.

The main event’s second and final caution occurred on the white-flag lap, this time setting up a green-white-checkered finish. Despite Brown’s attempt to capitalize, Reutzel did exactly what he did during the prior restart and quickly escaped to a comfortable advantage.

“I was happy to see that yellow, for sure,” Reutzel said. “It got to the point where I couldn’t pass the lapped cars. But I was hoping since I couldn’t pass them, I couldn’t get passed.”

“Aaron (Reutzel) was probably better than me overall,” Brown said. “I found the rubber in one and two a little bit sooner than he did which allowed us to make up some ground. I could see he was having a little bit of trouble with the lapped cars, and I was having some trouble, too, which kinda slowed my pace down. The caution was an opportunity I needed.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel [1]; 2. 21-Brian Brown [2]; 3. 9-James McFadden [5]; 4. 11-Dale Blaney [3]; 5. 48-Danny Dietrich [13]; 6. 26-Cory Eliason [11]; 7. 70-Brock Zearfoss [7]; 8. 17-Josh Baughman [10]; 9. 2M-Kerry Madsen [6]; 10. 24-Lucas Wolfe [16]; 11. 13-Paul McMahan [9]; 12. K4-Chad Kemenah [17]; 13. O7-Gerard McIntyre [19]; 14. 99-Skylar Gee [22]; 15. 55-Logan Wagner [21]; 16. 7K-Dan Shetler [20]; 17. 42-Sye Lynch [8]; 18. 91-Anthony Fiore [15]; 19. W20-Greg Wilson [12]; 20. 44-Trey Starks [4]; 21. 70X-Justin Peck [14]; 22. 13M-Brandon Matus [23]; 23. 98H-Dave Blaney [24]; 24. 5-Justin Barger [18]