ROSSBURG, Ohio – Aaron Reutzel capped off his second-straight Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions title in style Saturday night at Eldora Speedway, going back-to-back in the 4-Crown Nationals.
Reutzel passed Cory Eliason for the point on lap 16 of the 25-lap All Star feature and raced off into the distance, securing his 16th series win of the season after only needed to fire for engine heat in order to clinch the championship.
The Clute, Texas native took the checkered flag in front by 2.5 seconds over Eliason, with Gio Scelzi completing the podium finishers with a third-place run.
But the night was all about Reutzel, who celebrated as the race winner and series champion in victory lane.
“I can’t say enough about this team. What we’ve done is unreal,” said Reutzel. “Last night, it was rough and heavy and we were good for so long; we should’ve come away with a win last night. Tonight it was dead slick and we were good. That’s just a testament to this team that we just work really hard and try to be good on anything, and that we didn’t do it from the front row either. There’s been a lot of naysayers here in the last month saying that we’ve been only winning off the front row. Well, we drew the worst pill we could draw tonight. So we’ll give them something else to talk about now.
“This has been an absolute dream season, and what a great way to cap it off, in victory lane at Eldora.”
However, Reutzel was still apologetic even as he celebrated, after contact between he and Cale Thomas on the ninth lap of Saturday’s feature caused Thomas to go into a 360 spin and dropped the Ron Gorby-owned No. G1 from contention at the front of the field.
“I have to apologize to Ron Gorby, because I didn’t mean to get into his car there,” Reutzel lamented. “That kid was running the top the whole race, and he chopped me when I wasn’t expecting it and he went down and kind of shut it down on the bottom. I was going in way harder than that and my brakes just don’t work that well at that point (in the corner). So I apologize. I feel bad for that because he was having a good run and he deserved to have a good run. He works hard on his car and I do feel bad for it.”
A spin by Trevor Baker with 11 to go gave Reutzel the shot he needed to pounce, and the Texan did just that on the final restart of the race. Reutzel dogged Eliason for a lap after the green flag waved, before pitching his car to the bottom of the second corner to clear the Rudeen Racing No. 26 for the point.
After that, the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports No. 87 was unstoppable, with Eliason and Scelzi unable to mount a charge through traffic in the closing stages.
Buddy Kofoid pulled in a strong fourth-place finish in just his third start with Keith Kunz/Curb-Agajanian Motorsports, while six-time All Star champion Dale Blaney filled out the top five.
Sixth through 10th were Greg Wilson, Cale Conley, Chad Kemenah, Rico Abreu and James McFadden.
Feature (50 laps): 1. #87 – Aaron Reutzel; 2. #26 – Cory Eliason; 3. #71 – Gio Scelzi; 4. #67 – Buddy Kofoid; 5. #11 – Dale Blaney; 6. #W20 – Greg Wilson; 7. #3c – Cale Conley; 8. #K4 – Chad Kemenah; 9. #24 – Rico Abreu; 10. #9 – James McFadden; 11. #99b – Brady Bacon; 12. #70 – Brock Zearfoss; 13. #33m – Mason Daniel; 14. #13 – Paul McMahan; 15. #98h – Dave Blaney; 16. #12n – Joey Saldana; 17. #81 – Lee Jacobs; 18. #5t – Travis Philo; 19. #41s – Dominic Scelzi; 20. #2c – Wayne Johnson; 21. #49d – Shawn Dancer; 22. #99 – Skylar Gee; 23. #G1 – Cale Thomas; 24. #40 – George Hobaugh; 25. #45 – Trevor Baker.
Lap Leader(s): Cale Thomas 1-6, Cory Eliason 7-15, Aaron Reutzel 16-25.