YORK HAVEN, Pa. — Gerard McIntyre led all 30 laps to win Sunday night’s Salute to the Troops main event as the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 sprint cars wrapped up a four-race weekend at BAPS Motor Speedway.
The $5,000 victory, a second during All Star competition for the pilot of the Northeast Foundation and Concrete/Water Treatment By Design/No. 07 sprint car, did not come without a challenge, as he was forced to withstand nearly 20 laps of constant pressure from six-time series champion and all-time series win leader Dale Blaney.
On an even bigger note for All Star enthusiasts, the BAPS Motor Speedway triumph bumped the weekend score to 4-1 in favor of Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions.
All Star regulars won at Grandview Speedway, the first Williams Grove Speedway ‘Jack Gunn Memorial’ feature, Lincoln Speedway and BAPS Motor Speedway.
“The guys did a great job tonight. I just did what I needed to do to get this thing to victory lane,” said McIntrye. “A big thanks to all of those guys for running me clean. I could hear Dale (Blaney) on the outside of me a couple of times. I tried to change my line up a few times so those guys didn’t know where I was going. It all worked out and I’m glad to be here.”
A red-flag incident involving polesitter Justin Peck on the opening circuit, followed by multiple rule infractions resulting in the disqualification of Danny Dietrich, Anthony Macri, Lance Dewease, Ryan Smith and Skylar Gee, allowed McIntyre the opportunity to restart on the front row.
The opportunity played into McIntyre’s favor, as he jumped to the early lead with Cory Eliason, Dale Blaney, Aaron Reutzel and Tony Stewart in tow.
With G-Mac in command, it was Blaney who was making the early moves. The Hartford, Ohio, native slipped into second by lap five, next setting his aim on the familiar No. 07 of McIntyre.
Lap after lap, Blaney attempted to drive by McIntyre, only to be denied at the exit of each corner. A trio of cautions, including a second red flag incident for series point leader Aaron Reutzel on lap 19 halted the feature pace and although Blaney restarted well, McIntyre survived and continued to lead the way.
In an attempt to execute a perfect last-ditch effort, Blaney chased McIntyre beyond the flag stand and drove into turn one as hard as he could, nearly pulling even as the pair reached the apex of the corner.
A drag race down the backstretch ensued, followed by McIntyre diving into turn three and Blaney returning to the topside. Despite the bold attempt, Blaney did not have enough, losing by a margin of victory equaling .0183 seconds.
“Gerard ran a really great race,” said Blaney, who regained the point lead. “The guys gave me a great car. A second the last two nights in Central PA isn’t bad. I would have liked to get one of these out here though.”
Freddie Rahmer, who won the evening’s B-main, blasted ahead 16 positions to secure a third-place finish at the final checkers, followed by Brock Zearfoss and Paul McMahan.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. O7-Gerard McIntyre ; 2. 11-Dale Blaney ; 3. 51-Freddie Rahmer ; 4. 70-Brock Zearfoss ; 5. 13-Paul McMahan ; 6. 99M-Kyle Moody ; 7. 26-Cory Eliason ; 8. W20-Greg Wilson ; 9. 21-Brian Montieth ; 10. 91-Kyle Reinhardt ; 11. 14-Tony Stewart ; 12. 5-Jeff Halligan ; 13. 73B-Brett Michalski ; 14. 44-Dylan Norris ; 15. 90-Jordan Givler ; 16. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 17. 7K-Dan Shetler ; 18. 40-George Hobaugh ; 19. 70X-Justin Peck ; 20. 39M-Anthony Macri ; 21. 69K-Lance Dewease ; 22. 72-Ryan Smith ; 23. 99-Skylar Gee ; 24. 48-Danny Dietrich .
Lap Leaders: Gerard McIntyre (1-30)