PORT ROYAL, Pa. – Kyle Reinhardt will no longer drive the Golden Flavor No. 98 for Tom and Fran Chiappelli at Port Royal Speedway on Saturdays, citing a lack of performance and the pressure to produce results now as the reason.
Racing to put food on the table for the first time in his life, Reinhardt will shift his full focus to his Capitol Renegade No. 91, which is owned by Wayne Quackenbush, the general manager of Capitol Renegade.
“Everyone saw, we rolled the No. 91 out there for one race [in the July 4 Pennsylvania Speedweek race at Port Royal] and right away had a top 10 and won the heat race,” Reinhardt said. “We weren’t really gelling with what we wanted with the [No. 98] car and things like that. It just wasn’t working out.”
In nine races with the No. 98 at Port Royal, Reinhardt posted an average finish of 18.2.
On July 4, the final night of nine races in Pennsylvania Speedweek, Reinhardt couldn’t race the No. 98 because of a team emergency, so he hauled the No. 91 to the half-mile track and ran ninth. He also won his heat race.
“They weren’t totally surprised because they know I need to make a living now doing this,” said Reinhardt, who quit his engineering job in his native New Jersey last April to move to central Pennsylvania as a full-time driver. “It was an OK split. No hard feelings on either side. Everyone understands.”
Now, the plan is to “race as much as we can, when we can,” he said.
Reinhardt still plans to race for the Williams Grove points fund and will now run the remaining events at Port Royal in the No. 91.
During Speedweek, Reinhardt was one of nine drivers to qualify for all nine races, showing speed and promising signs that he can successfully tightrope his way to the end of the backlogged 2020 season.
“We had really good speed at the beginning of the night,” Reinhardt said of Speedweek. “But across the board, we know we have to get better at the end of the night. That’s still what we’re working on. … We know we have good speed against cars. Knowing that we’ll take it and fine tune it.”
One of the main reasons Reinhardt raced the No. 98 on Saturdays was so he and Quackenbush could nurse their two motors through the remainder of the season.
But after reevaluating what is already a jumbled schedule, Reinhardt thinks things will work out in this new position.
“That was the thing holding us back,” said Reinhardt, who has one win and three podiums in 25 central Pennsylvania races this season. “If you lap-out a motor quick, you’re kind of stuck. I think we’ll be OK to make it to the end of the year.”
The only thing that changes for Reinhardt and crew is that they now have to prepare two cars for each weekend instead of one for Williams Grove.
Reinhardt has two and a half cars on hand, with the “half a car” an incomplete piece that was supposed to attempt the Knoxville Nationals.
“I think what changes now is we have to be ready for anything,” Reinhardt said. “Now we have to make sure we have two cars ready to go because we’ll try to do two races a week now.
“It’s a little bit stressful because we’re not totally sure we’ll be able to make it the rest of the season, but we’re going to try our hardest.”