Reutzel Keeps Rolling As All Stars Hit East Bay

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Aaron Reutzel (87) races under Greg Wilson at East Bay Raceway Park. (Al Steinberg photo)

GIBSONTON, Fla. — Reigning Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 champion Aaron Reutzel raced to his second victory of the season Monday night at East Bay Raceway Park.

Driving the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports No. 87, Reutzel started sixth and took the lead on lap three en route to the $5,000 victory on the third-mile oval.

“We kinda picked up right where we left off last year. Whenever you’re running that good at the end of the year, you don’t want the year to end. Momentum can change and you can never be too sure how the next year is going to start,” Reutzel said. “Even when we had the opportunity to practice last week, I told the guys I didn’t want to practice. I just wanted to head into race night like it was another race from last year.”

A takeover that proved to be just as impressive as the driver performing it, Reutzel’s bid for the lead on lap three consisted of two parts, the first segment being a slingshot move around the outer edge of the speedway in turns one and two to power by three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Tony Stewart.

Aaron Reutzel (Julia Johnson photo)

Reutzel’s maneuver in the first two corners was soon followed by a dive through turns three and four to sneak by Brian Brown for the top spot. The multi-time Knoxville Raceway track champion led the first two circuits.

Reutzel went on to race unchallenged throughout the remaining distance, easily navigating through slower traffic while Stewart, Cory Eliason, Ian Madsen and Brown jockeyed for position.

Climbing ahead from eighth, Madsen eventually settled into second on lap 18 and desperately attempted to track down the two-time champion during the second half of the 30-lap program. The effort was present, but the gap was too much to overcome, even in late stages of traffic. Reutzel lapped all but the top 11 cars and, at one point, maintained a near-five second advantage. The final margin of victory was 2.5 seconds.

“The track was phenomenal tonight. I’d love to see a race track like that the entire time we are here,” Reutzel continued. “That was a lot of fun. I can’t thank my team enough for what they do for me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without their hard work and dedication.”

Following Reutzel and Madsen to the line were Eliason, Stewart and Chad Kemenah.

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel [6]; 2. 18-Ian Madsen [8]; 3. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 4. 14-Tony Stewart [2]; 5. 15K-Chad Kemenah [9]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [1]; 7. 4T-Terry McCarl [13]; 8. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. [3]; 9. 3Z-Brock Zearfoss [11]; 10. 13-Paul McMahan [7]; 11. 28-Tim Shaffer [14]; 12. M1-Mark Smith [5]; 13. 5-Brent Marks [19]; 14. 3C-Cale Conley [17]; 15. W20-Greg Wilson [12]; 16. 44-Trey Starks [15]; 17. 24-Danny Martin Jr. [10]; 18. 47X-Dylan Westbrook [24]; 19. 40-George Hobaugh [18]; 20. 1-Jamie Myers [20]; 21. 49H-Bradley Howard [21]; 22. 48-Danny Dietrich [16]; 23. 28F-Davie Franek [23]; 24. 4-Danny Smith [22] Lap Leaders: Brian Brown (1,2), Aaron Reutzel (3-30)