ORRVILLE, Ohio — With four races down and five to go, Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek for the All Star Circuit of Champions reached its midway point following Monday night’s Duffy Smith Memorial at Wayne County Speedway.
The event at the three-eighths-mile oval, won by Buckeye State native Cap Henry, marked Henry’s second win in four Speedweek races and cast him as a potential sleeper pick to win the mini-series title.
Also notable were the struggles of pre-race favorite Kyle Larson and Speedweek point leader Aaron Reutzel — if you can call top-10 finishes struggles — and a multi-time Speedweek champion serving as an All Star official.
Our Jacob Seelman has compiled those thoughts into his top-three takeaways from the first half of Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek. Read on to learn more.
1. Cap Henry could win the Ohio Sprint Speedweek championship.
OK, so coming into the week, if you either didn’t follow sprint car racing regularly, live in the state of Ohio or travel to the annual Rumble in Fort Wayne midget races, you probably didn’t know much about Cap Henry.
After the first four nights of Ohio Sprint Speedweek, the Bellevue, Ohio, native has done his part to try and make sure the dirt-racing world at-large knows exactly who he is.
Henry won the opening night of Speedweek on Friday at Attica Raceway Park over Buddy Kofoid and then backed it up with a late-race, statement pass of Cale Conley Monday during round four at Wayne County Speedway for his second win of the week.
It was Henry’s fourth victory of the season, with three of the wins coming at Attica.
The two victories have him fifth in Speedweek points, 36 markers adrift of current leader Aaron Reutzel with five races to go.
As of now, work obligations would keep Henry out of the Wednesday and Thursday rounds of Ohio Sprint Speedweek, effectively eliminating his shot at winning the week-long championship.
However, I’d be willing to bet he didn’t necessarily bank on being a two-time winner at this point of Speedweek, either.
If Henry is able to race all nine nights, he’s suddenly a very real threat to lay claim to his first Ohio Sprint Speedweek title.
2. Aaron Reutzel is consistent, even when all odds are against him.
It doesn’t matter what gets thrown at Aaron Reutzel and the Baughman/Reutzel Motorsports No. 87 team, they always seem to find a way to overcome adversity.
That was proven over two days at Fremont Speedway, when Reutzel crossed the line third in his dash butslapped the wall moments later, damaging his main car heavily.
Rather than pull out a backup car, the BRM crew feverishly repaired the primary car in time for the Saturday night main event. Reutzel rewarded their efforts with a second-place finish.
The next night, using the same car, Reutzel won at Fremont, collecting his seventh All Star score of the year. It’s those types of performances — gutting out a result where there should be no hope of doing so — that have Reutzel atop the Speedweek points after four races.
He’s finished no worse than eighth in any of them and barring someone getting on a hot streak, that type of consistency will make it difficult for anyone to make up ground on him.
It’s even more impressive when Reutzel can remain that steadfast up front with major roadblocks presented in his path — but that’s why he’s won two All Star championships in the last two seasons and appears poised to capture a third this year.
3. Dale Blaney has found a new Ohio Sprint Speedweek role: officiating.
Just because all-time Ohio Sprint Speedweek champion and wins leader Dale Blaney didn’t have a ride for this year’s edition of the Buckeye State tour didn’t mean he stayed home.
Blaney, a six-time Speedweek titlist and 32-time feature winner, was still very much at the race track for the first four races. He was just serving in a different capacity than driving.
Blaney has been working as an Ohio Sprint Speedweek infield official and corner worker this week, serving in various capacities where needed and certainly appearing as a friendly and familiar face to drivers and crews alike.
It was odd to start, yes, but Blaney’s presence gave Ohio Sprint Speedweek a familiar feel to it — even if he wasn’t driving and chasing a seventh overall Speedweek championship.
Here’s hoping that Blaney may be able to put together a driving deal to be back behind the wheel during Speedweek 2021, but I’ll openly admit, it’s neat to see him try something different and continue helping the sport in any way that he can.
That’s something that anyone in racing can, and should, respect and admire.
SPEED SPORT’s Ohio Sprint Speedweek coverage is presented by Cometic Gasket Inc., a leading worldwide supplier of gaskets and engine sealing solutions for the automotive performance, powersports, original equipment and remanufactured engine industries. No matter what you ride, Cometic Gasket can seal your machine so you can focus on the finish line.
Since 1989, Cometic has been living, breathing, and eating powersports. As a proud supporters of GNCC, AMA, NASCAR, and other race-teams across the country, Cometic understands what it takes to put everything on the line with one goal in mind. When you earn your living racing at the highest level against the best in the country, engine failures simply aren’t an option. Champions across the world continue to use Cometic Gasket for their engine-sealing solutions. Whether they’re driving a Gen-6 stock car or riding a top fuel motorcycle, Cometic Gaskets are the reliable source in extreme conditions.
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