Reutzel Is Attica All Star Ace

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Aaron Reutzel en route to victory at Attica Raceway Park. (Todd Ridgeway photo)

ATTICA, Ohio — It has been nearly six weeks since the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 last made a competitive lap, but despite the frustrating stretch of poor weather resulting in a long gap in the schedule, Aaron Reutzel never missed a beat.

The reigning series champion and point leader picked up $5,000 for his first victory at Attica Raceway Park on Friday night.

Although dominant during the second half of the 40-lap program, the pilot of the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports entry was forced to chase fellow All Star full-timer Brock Zearfoss for the first 21 circuits.

It was not until lap 22 when Zearfoss, who was attempting to navigate heavy lapped traffic, hooked a rut and spun all alone at the front of the field.

Zearfoss’ mistake was an obvious lucky break for Reutzel, but the reigning Series champion was in close proximity of the top spot up until that point, actually earning command for a brief stint after a caution on lap 13.

Reutzel’s slide job attempt during the ensuing restart failed, but the Texan never lost track of the Premier Motorsports entry.

When the 40-lap main event’s dust finally settled, it was Buddy Kofoid who chased Reutzel to the final checkers, followed by Cap Henry, Shawn Dancer and Jac Haudenschild.

“We had a really great race car here tonight. Grant and the guys have been busting their butts in trying to make me better at these tracks in Ohio, Attica included,” Reutzel explained. “I felt like we could make good laps here. Luckily, we started up front and didn’t get caught up with Brock’s [Zearfoss] spin. I’m happy that we were able to capitalize on our starting position this time.”

After inheriting the top spot on lap 22, Reutzel’s next challenge was in the form of lapped traffic, eventually coming into play for the first time for the new leader on lap 28. Buddy Kofoid, who started second on the grid, but faded to third after the initial start, was starting to make up ground on Reutzel as the traffic started to intensify.

The California phenom chased Reutzel down to a car length by lap 33, soon pulling even with the familiar No. 87 at the entrance of turn one on the following circuit. Despite the effort, Reutzel’s championship-earning experience with traffic proved to be too strong, as a bold, three-wide move to split a pair of slower cars sealed his winning fate.

Although Reutzel was able to stretch his late-race advantage to nearly a straightaway, utilizing the very topside of the speedway, an uncooperative lapped car nearly caused a similar fate that Zearfoss faced. Luckily for Reutzel, his outcome was different.

“That last lap, I had a lap car change lanes on me and that had me all mixed up. It wasn’t his fault, he didn’t know I was there. Luckily, I was able to maintain control and not spit out, because that’s what I thought was going to happen,” Reutzel continued. “You gotta go whenever you’re leading like that. Racing with Brock early in the race and watching him in traffic allowed me to know where to go when I was leading.”

“He’s always fast wherever he goes,” Kofoid said. “I gave it everything we got, but we came up one short. So far, this is four podiums in a row for this team at Attica. We’ve been in every finishing position except the one Aaron is in right now, but we’ll keep working and try again soon.”

Paul Weaver won the 305 sprint car feature and Rusty Schlenk topped the late model main event.

The finish:

Feature (40 laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel [3]; 2. 11N-Buddy Kofoid [2]; 3. 4-Cap Henry [7]; 4. 49-Shawn Dancer [8]; 5. 3-Jac Haudenschild [5]; 6. 25M-Chris Andrews [6]; 7. 11-Dale Blaney [4]; 8. 13-Paul McMahan [13]; 9. 16-DJ Foos [19]; 10. 49X-Tim Shaffer [17]; 11. 70X-Spencer Bayston [22]; 12. 99-Skylar Gee [16]; 13. 70-Brock Zearfoss [1]; 14. W20-Greg Wilson [24]; 15. 23-Max Stambaugh [9]; 16. 33W-Caleb Griffith [14]; 17. O7-Gerard McIntyre [25]; 18. 35B-Stuart Brubaker [18]; 19. 26-Cory Eliason [20]; 20. 40-George Hobaugh [26]; 21. 5T-Travis Philo [11]; 22. 57X-Andrew Palker [21]; 23. 83M-Broc Martin [10]; 24. 8M-TJ Michael [12]; 25. 1-Nate Dussel [23]; 26. 8-Jordan Ryan [15] Lap Leaders: Brock Zearfoss (1-21), Aaron Reutzel (22-40)