NEW OXFORD, Pa. – Last April, Kyle Reinhardt left his engineering job in New Jersey and moved to Central Pennsylvania to chase his dream of racing a sprint car full time.
Now, after two seasons in Posse country, the 26-year-old is saddling up for another bold transition.
Next season, Reinhardt will join the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions and take aim at a lifelong pursuit with the support of Wayne Quackenbush and Jeff McCall.
Quackenbush, the general manager of Capitol Renegade, has served as Reinhardt’s car owner in the No. 91 since 2017. Meanwhile McCall, a native of Cherryville, N.C., has come on board as a co-owner and integral part of Reinhardt’s touring leap.
McCall has experience working for Dave Blaney and, most recently, Trey Starks.
“This is what I’ve been working toward for the past several years,” Reinhardt said of hitting the road with the All Stars. “It’s a huge deal for myself. Just to be at this level, to know we’re going to race at this level every night, with a full-time crew and being out on the road, it’s been a long time coming.”
Reinhardt secured only one win this year, a May 31 victory at Selinsgrove Speedway, and ran thin on resources by the end of the season.
He feels this endeavor is firmly backed and one he couldn’t pass up.
Quackenbush and Reinhardt have made gradual gains in recent years and the addition of McCall catalyzes a step forward. McCall brings a national profile to the table, having crewed for Blaney in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series in 2001 and 2002. He also helped launch Scott Gobrecht’s sprint car team in 2016 with Starks behind the wheel.
“I’m just excited to get going,” Reinhardt said. “I can’t thank Wayne and Jeff enough. They are the ones that are making this happen.”
Bob Curtis is set to come on board as Reinhardt’s crew chief, another pivotal addition in this leap to the touring stage. Curtis, who has experience working for names like Donny Schatz, Daryn Pittman, Shane Stewart, and Fred Rahmer, actually initiated the move.
The journeyman crew member called Reinhardt recently and proposed the idea of running the full All Star tour.
Even though Williams Grove and Port Royal Speedways had increased their track purses, the decision of what to do was a simple one for Reinhardt.
He’s remained steadfast about this goal since day one.
“There is a lot of money to be won, but at the end of the day I’ve been working to get on the road since I’ve been racing sprint cars,” Reinhardt said. “The incentive you get to run the All Star deal can change your race program a ton. You get tow money and pit passes. When you do 60 races in Pennsylvania, your out of pocket could be more.
“This deal was a no-brainer for me,” he added.
Reinhardt adds his name to a series that’s set to see plenty of change in its roster.
While three-time reigning champion Aaron Reutzel and veteran Paul McMahan have departed, Ian Madsen, Tyler Courtney, and Bill Balog have joined the tour for next season with their various talents and resumes.
Series runner-up Cory Eliason is also set for the title chase and has steadily progressed year after year with Rudeen Racing.
Where does Reinhardt fit into that picture? It’s a question he’s already played through his head many times, knowing he’s going to be right in the middle of the fray.
But there are many unknowns surrounding his upcoming endeavor: new tracks, untested parts and pieces, a new team, and a new challenge.
What he doesn’t have to worry about is the burden of figuring out a well-handling race car. Over the past few years, Reinhardt has naturally played the crew chief role given his passion for the sport and mechanical knowledge.
What’s happened over time, though, is unwanted stressors inside the race car, the time where a sharp mind is needed.
“I know what I’m capable of and I just question my ability to set my own car up because I question it the whole time I’m racing, you know what I mean?” Reinhardt said. “That was the biggest fight I’ve had all season. … I constantly question and I don’t really focus on driving.”
This got considerably bad in the latter half of 2020, after Reinhardt wrecked two of his three cars during the nine-race, nine-day Pennsylvania Speedweek. In fact, those were the only on-track incidents Reinhardt was involved in all season.
But after his June 30 crash at Grandview, where race-leader Christopher Bell rammed into the rear of Reinhardt right as the yellow for another incident came out, speed dwindled and frustrations mounted.
Since Reinhardt junked another car two nights prior at Lincoln, he wanted to be frugal on his already stringent resources, so he made hasty repairs and continued to use it.
The frame, however, was bent and Reinhardt didn’t realize it until almost a month and a half later.
“It was so busy, we never really had a chance to fix it,” Reinhardt said. “It felt like we were getting beat down every week. At the end of the day, when we sat down and looked at all the results and looked at what happened, we were pleased. We improved a lot from the year before and the previous years. Nothing to hang our heads about. It just felt like during the season, I expected more out of myself.
“At the end of the day we were happy with it.”
Reinhardt hopes mishaps like those can be avoided next year with help from McCall, and particularly Curtis, who will act as a much-needed mentor for a 26-year-old racer just trying to compete with a devoted mind.
“I think that’s going to be the biggest thing,” Reinhardt said. “I hope the results show that.”