ORRVILLE, Ohio — With Mother Nature throwing a curveball in All Star plans to visit Chillicothe’s Atomic Speedway on Wednesday evening, the Series made an early morning venue swap and switched its focus to Wayne County Speedway.
The Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Indy Metal Finishing destination change proved to be all the better for Aaron Reutzel, ultimately ending his evening at ‘Orrville’s Historic Oval’ $5,000 richer, as well as officially back on top of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 driver standings.
Reutzel, the defending All Star champion in addition to being the point leader, led all 30 circuits at Wayne County Speedway on Wednesday evening, forced to outduel Tim Shaffer and Rico Abreu.
Joining Kyle Larson and Dale Blaney, Reutzel now owns one Speedweek victory in 2019, adding to his overall All Star wins list that now includes 12, three this season.
“We were fortunate enough to pull the front row for the dash and get a starting spot up front. Capitalizing on a solid pill draw is important, but the guys gave me a great car, as well,” Reutzel said. “Grant, Jim-Bob, Cheeseburger; these guys worked hard all night and gave me a great race car. It was a total team effort.”
Although forced to withstand three cautions during the first seven circuits, one of which a red flag incident just after the initial start, Reutzel remained the class of the field, keeping Shaffer and Abreu in his rearview mirror during the first 10 laps. Strong in clean air, it was not until when slower traffic entered the picture for the first time that Shaffer and Abreu were able to chop away at Reutzel’s advantage.
By lap 13, Shaffer was hot on Reutzel’s heels, knocking down the leader’s advantage to a mere-car length. Despite Reutzel’s ability to navigate slower traffic, Shaffer kept the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports entry in check, pressuring the familiar No. 87 for the lead on multiple occasions between laps 15 and 18 while nearly driving under Reutzel at the exit of turn four on lap 17.
Feeling the pressure from Shaffer, Reutzel immediately increased his pace, picking off slower cars one by one while simultaneously growing his command over Shaffer and Abreu.
By the time Reutzel received the five-to-go signal from the flagstand, the race was already over, eventually crossing under the final checkers with a near-straightaway advantage.
“Getting the jump was really important. The last thing I wanted to do was have to drive really hard and have to catch Tim [Shaffer],” Reutzel continued. “I was able to set my own pace. I did make a mistake here and there which allowed Shaffer to sneak under me, but I was able to get my pace back up again. I don’t think he was as good as I was through traffic.”
Brock Zearfoss finished fourth, followed by Dean Jacobs.
Feature (30 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 2. 49X-Tim Shaffer ; 3. 24-Rico Abreu ; 4. 70-Brock Zearfoss ; 5. 9-Dean Jacobs ; 6. 26-Cory Eliason ; 7. 11N-Buddy Kofoid ; 8. 57X-Andrew Palker ; 9. O7-Gerard McIntyre ; 10. W20-Greg Wilson ; 11. 11-Dale Blaney ; 12. 13-Paul McMahan ; 13. 48-Danny Dietrich ; 14. 16M-Danny Mumaw ; 15. 3-Jac Haudenschild ; 16. 97-Max Stambaugh ; 17. 17-Josh Baughman ; 18. 8M-TJ Michael ; 19. K4-Chad Kemenah ; 20. 45-Trevor Baker ; 21. 16-DJ Foos ; 22. 19-Mitch Harble ; 23. 81-Lee Jacobs ; 24. 2-Ricky Peterson ; 25. 40-George Hobaugh ; 26. 70X-Spencer Bayston  Lap Leaders: Aaron Reutzel (1-30)