ORRVILLE, Ohio — Nearly sweeping the entire program, Cap Henry left Wayne County Speedway on Monday evening $5,000 richer, finally etching his name in sprint car racing history as an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event winner.
The driver of the Lane Racing/Beer Barrel Bourbon No. 4 accomplished his feat in exciting fashion, utilizing his pole position to lead all 30, non-stop circuits around Wayne County Speedway, all while holding off defending All Star Circuit of Champions title holder Aaron Reutzel.
Henry’s campaign at the front of the field was engulfed in slower traffic for much of the 30-lap distance. On top of that, the former All Star Circuit of Champions Rookie of the Year was forced to manhandle an ultra-fast, but tricky and choppy surface, nearly costing Henry his victory when steering issues became a factor in the final corner.
In fact, Henry’s margin of victory over Reutzel was a mere 0.024 seconds.
Buddy Kofoid chased Reutzel and Henry to the final checkers, followed by Cory Eliason and Dean Jacobs.
“Man, this is awesome,” Henry said in victory lane. “I feel like we’ve been trying to do this for like ten years. I can’t thank the guys from Lane Racing enough. They work extremely hard and actually had to rebuild this car two weeks in a row after I crashed it. They are great to work for; a great team.”
Starting from the pole position, Henry set the pace early, instantly jumping out to a commanding lead over Aaron Reutzel, Greg Wilson and Buddy Kofoid. Lapped traffic entered the picture early with Henry reaching the back of the field with only six laps knocked off the scoreboard. Solidly in second at the time, Henry’s momentum downshift in traffic allowed Reutzel to close the gap, actually making a bid for the top spot on lap nine. The slider through turns one and two failed allowing Henry to escape into the distance.
By lap 15, Reutzel was pressuring Henry for the lead yet again, utilizing periods of even heavier traffic to chase down the former All Star full-timer. Despite running up on the leader, Henry seemed to find another gear, once again separating himself from the Clute, Texas-native in traffic.
Ten laps later, Reutzel was all over Henry one more time, this time battling nearly nose-to-tail as the lead pair diced through slower cars.
In the meantime, it was apparent that the rut that had formed between turns three and four was giving Henry some trouble. Lap after lap, Henry would hit the rut and find himself nearly losing his balance. Although Henry was able to power his way out of the near-mess, the final lap nearly proved otherwise.
As Henry drove into turn three for the final time, the rut at the bottom of the speedway struck again sending the familiar No. 4 up the track. Henry’s mishap was an opportunity for Reutzel, ultimately opening the bottom groove.
In a desperate attempt to maintain the lead, Henry rocketed back down the track and drag raced Reutzel to the finish, actually making contact just before the flagstand. Suffice it to say, Henry came out victorious, finally kicking the All Star monkey off his back.
“When I hit that rut on the white flag lap, I messed the steering up. I felt bad about running Aaron (Reutzel) almost to the infield, but we wanted an All Star win and I wasn’t going to lift,” Cap Henry continued. “I kept trying to crash through that hole the entire race. That last lap, it about got me. I definitely panicked there.”
“He was able to maintain a nice pace the entire race,” Reutzel said of Cap Henry. “Lapped traffic wasn’t too bad for me, but there were a few cars that were trying to make it hard for us. I was just trying not to crash, honestly.”
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 4-Cap Henry ; 2. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 3. 11N-Buddy Kofoid ; 4. 26-Cory Eliason ; 5. 9-Dean Jacobs ; 6. 70X-Justin Peck ; 7. W20-Greg Wilson ; 8. 11-Dale Blaney ; 9. 70-Brock Zearfoss ; 10. 13-Paul McMahan ; 11. K4-Chad Kemenah ; 12. G1-Tim Shaffer ; 13. 3-Jac Haudenschild ; 14. 38K-Jordan Ryan ; 15. 97-Max Stambaugh ; 16. O7-Gerard McIntyre ; 17. 22-Brandon Spithaler ; 18. 23-Carson Short ; 19. 8-Cole Duncan ; 20. 45-Trevor Baker ; 21. 16M-Danny Mumaw ; 22. 99-Skylar Gee ; 23. 81-Lee Jacobs ; 24. O8-Dan Kuriger ; 25. 57X-Andrew Palker