Starks Delivers Port Royal Prize

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Trey Starks (44) fights off Aaron Reutzel at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)
Trey Starks (44) fights off Aaron Reutzel at Port Royal Speedway. (Dan Demarco photo)

PORT ROYAL, Pa. — After competing weekly at Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway this summer, Washington’s Trey Starks made his way to Central Pennsylvania and found success, winning an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event at Port Royal Speedway.

The race was the Night Before The Tuscarora 50; a preamble to the historic, yet unprecedented, $52,000-to-win Tuscarora 50 at the half-mile track.

Starting second, Starks took command for the first time on lap 13, taking advantage of Aaron Reutzel’s misfortune that occurred in the form of a flat left-rear tire. Although Kasey Kahne Racing’s James McFadden, who was battling in the runner-up spot at the time of Reutzel’s troubles, inherited the top spot, officially, Starks quickly proved he was stronger, utilizing the ensuing restart to drive under McFadden by the exit turn four.

McFadden held on to finish second, followed by Brian Brown, Gio Scelzi and Anthony Macri.

“This feels awesome,” said Starks, driver of the Scott Gobrecht-owned No. 44 sprint car. “It feels like the first part of this year nothing could go our way. We had tons of bad luck. As the year winds down, we are starting to get some luck. We had a fast race car last night (Bedford Speedway), and we had a fast race car again tonight. We’re really happy to be back here in Pennsylvania and to be able to put on a show for all of the fans.”

Aaron Reutzel earned the early advantage from the pole position. The defending All Star champion led the first seven laps unscathed before reaching the back of the field for the first time on lap eight.

Despite Reutzel’s ability to open up to an impressive command that stretched to nearly a full straightaway, Starks displayed early signs of speed and quickly closed-in on the familiar No. 87.

Things started to heat up for the first time on lap nine, as Reutzel found himself trapped behind slower cars at the entrance of turn one.

Forced to check up with the intent to drive around traffic, the momentum shift proved to be too damaging for Reutzel which allowed Starks to close the gap completely. Unfortunately for Starks, caution flags on lap 10 erased all potential for a battle in traffic allowing Reutzel the opportunity to restart in clean air.

In a quick turn of events, the next caution on lap 13 was for race leader, Aaron Reutzel, who pulled to a stop with a flat left-rear tire. The caution allowed James McFadden to inherit the top spot, who gained the runner-up position over Starks on lap 11.

Although McFadden was in charge during the ensuing restart, he would not lead a lap, as Starks was able to power under McFadden and slide the Australia-native through turns three and four. Starks was now in charge and that is where he stayed.

McFadden did show signs of strength during the final four circuits, but Starks’ pace was too tough to tame.

“I couldn’t quite get the start I needed to get around Aaron (Reutzel),” Starks continued. “I knew he was going to set a really fast pace. But I did feel like, before that first caution, that we were running him down a little bit. Once I got to the lead, I told myself I was going to run as hard as I could and not worry about my tires.”

The finish:

Feature (30 Laps): 1. 44-Trey Starks [2]; 2. 9-James McFadden [4]; 3. 21B-Brian Brown [7]; 4. 71-Gio Scelzi [11]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri [9]; 6. 70-Brock Zearfoss [13]; 7. 72-Ryan Smith [17]; 8. 51-Freddie Rahmer [8]; 9. 87-Aaron Reutzel [1]; 10. 26-Cory Eliason [12]; 11. 48-Danny Dietrich [18]; 12. 14-Tony Stewart [3]; 13. 5-Dylan Cisney [23]; 14. 33-Jared Esh [15]; 15. 11-Dale Blaney [5]; 16. 12-Blane Heimbach [26]; 17. 2-AJ Flick [10]; 18. 83-Lynton Jeffrey [19]; 19. 70X-Justin Peck [20]; 20. 2M-Kerry Madsen [6]; 21. 11S-TJ Stutts [14]; 22. 13-Paul McMahan [24]; 23. 17-Josh Baughman [22]; 24. 91-Kyle Reinhardt [16]; 25. 69K-Lance Dewease [21]; 26. 35-Tyler Reeser [25]

 

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