ERIE, Pa. — Cole Duncan was just four circuits away from claiming a second consecutive Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 victory at Eriez Speedway on Friday night when Aaron Reutzel stepped up and stole the show.
Utilizing lapped traffic during the closing circuits of the 30-lapper, Reutzel, who started fourth, drove underneath Duncan at the exit of turn two on lap 27, ultimately ending a high paced, nose-to-tail chase around Eriez Speedway.
Still well in command of the All Star Circuit of Champions’ season win list, the I-79 Summer Shootout victory increased Reutzel’s win total to six on the year with all six occurring at different facilities. In addition, Reutzel became the fifth different driver in five All Star Circuit of Champions starts to earn a trip to Eriez Speedway victory lane.
Jac Haudenschild crossed under the final checkers just behind Duncan and Reutzel, followed by Dave Blaney and Tim Shaffer.
“For the most part, we were pretty equal tonight,” Reutzel said. “It was going to take lapped traffic for me to get around him. It just played out perfect for us. It was one of those nights where we were better off running second.”
Jumping to third after the initial green, Reutzel’s chase for the top spot commenced with just a few laps recorded, actually sneaking around Tyler Esh to take the second spot officially on lap two. Showing signs of potential early, Reutzel’s first, official bid for the top spot occurred on lap six, utilizing a slide job through turns three and four to get by Cole Duncan.
Unfortunately for Reutzel, the pass was negated due to a caution just as the leaders were about to cross by the flagstand.
In clean air, Duncan was dominant, keeping a safe distance between himself and the field for the first 14 circuits, especially after caution flags reappeared on lap 11 clearing the track ahead of him. By lap 21, traffic started to become an obvious factor allowing Reutzel to cut down on Duncan’s advantage.
The pair raced nearly nose-to-tail for the next six circuits before Reutzel made his winning move, capitalizing on Duncan’s failed attempt to maneuver around slower cars as the duo battled off of turn two on lap 27.
From that point forward, it was all Reutzel at the front of the field, eventually driving away from his fellow frontrunners during the final three circuits to earn a trip to victory lane.
Feature (30 laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 2. 22C-Cole Duncan ; 3. 3-Jac Haudenschild ; 4. 70-Dave Blaney ; 5. 49X-Tim Shaffer ; 6. 13-Paul McMahan ; 7. 7K-Cale Conley ; 8. 35-Tyler Esh ; 9. 14-Tony Stewart ; 10. 3G-Carson Macedo ; 11. 10H-Chad Kemenah ; 12. 81-Lee Jacobs ; 13. 51-John Garvin ; 14. 4-Parker Price-Miller ; 15. 22-Brandon Spithaler ; 16. 126-Bryan Salisbury ; 17. 98-Carl Bowser ; 18. 1R-Gale Ruth Sr. ; 19. 11-Gary Taylor