Not only had that preparation led Reutzel and company to 15 All Star feature wins, but one of those was a 20-lapper at the Jack Gunn Memorial, making Reutzel the first All Star Circuit of Champions regular in series history to beat the PA Posse during a series event at Williams Grove Speedway.

He earned a World of Outlaws win at the SoCal Showdown at Perris Auto Speedway in March, and at the Knoxville Nationals, Reutzel put the BRM No. 87 on the pole and brought home a second consecutive top-five finish.

Earlier in the month, he’d topped the Posse at Port Royal Speedway, coming out on top of a dogfight with six-time event winner Lance Dewease to earn the biggest win of his career: the $52,000-to-win 52nd annual Tuscarora 50.

“After I went there for the first time, I was like man, this is definitely an event that I want to win,” he recalled. “And, you don’t really think it’s that possible when you go there the first year, and as bad as we were, and to get lapped the way we did. A couple times I think we got lapped, to be honest. And Lance and them were so good.

“So, you know, it’s an event you want to win, but you know how hard it’s gonna be, and to win that one, that was pretty incredible.”

As the Rossburg, Ohio day rolled on, Reutzel and the BRM team had to wait out a rain delay and the Eldora Speedway crew running in the track before chasing down Logan Schuchart and taking a runner-up finish against the Outlaws.

The following night, he would close out his All Star season in commanding fashion, taking his 16th ASCoC feature victory and second consecutive 4-Crown win.

TIM AYLWIN PHOTO

So, where will the team run in 2020?

“We’re not gonna do the Outlaws,” Aaron quickly responded. “I know that’s the one thing everyone wants to know. We’re not gonna do that – that’s my decision.”

As Reutzel’s early racing career progressed through junior sprints and micros to sprint cars with the ASCS Gulf South Region, friend and fellow competitor Channin Tankersley’s career followed the same path.

Channin had a cousin named Shelbey. Aaron and Shelbey met, hit it off, got engaged on Christmas of 2013, and married in 2014.

The couple have two children: their son Carson, who’s six, and daughter Riley, who’s two. And they’re putting family first.

“They’re ready to go Outlaw racing, but I want to stay home a little bit longer, wait ‘til both my kids are in school fulltime before I go out on the road,” Reutzel said of the Baughmans. “They’re ready to go when we’re ready to go. They’re definitely not trying to push us to do it by any means, but when I’m ready they’re ready.”

As of the afternoon of the 4-Crown, the team had yet to decide where they will be running in 2020.

“We’re either gonna hit … hit or miss schedule, or we’ll run the All Stars again,” Reutzel explained. “I mean, we’re really not missing anything; there’s so many $50,000-to-win, $20,000-to-win, $100,000-to-win, there’s so many big races off the Outlaw tour that we’re really not missing much. And then, us being based out of Knoxville, we can run 25, 30 Outlaw shows that are just four or five hours from the shop.

“So, that’s what we’re gonna do.”

And, when the team eventually does head out on the road with the Outlaws, Reutzel will take it one season at a time.

“I’m a little ways out. But, honestly, I want to do it to say I did it, but I don’t want to go out and do it year after year after year after year after year. Why, I don’t know,” Reutzel noted. “I may go out there and fall in love with it and keep doing it year after year, but I kinda like the All Star deal, ‘cause we have so many options to go do other things.

“I don’t like really being tied up in one thing, and you know what you have to do all year. And with the All Star deal we kind of have some options here and there. And I like that. I’d really like just doing an open schedule, but you know, doing it for a living, it’s nice to get a paycheck in December for the points fund.”

After some quick figuring in his head, Aaron estimated that 2024 might be the year he’d be ready to give it a shot.

Unlike most career sprint car racers, a dream of running a long career as a full-time World of Outlaws competitor is not what drives Aaron Reutzel.

Aside from competing for a season with the Outlaws, what else is on Reutzel’s bucket list?

“I think the number one thing I want to do is win the Knoxville Nationals,” he said. “If I can win the Knoxville Nationals, I could pretty much say that I’ve done everything I wanted to do.”

In so many careers, including racing, the balance between family and career can be difficult to navigate.

Aaron Reutzel has made it clear: he’s chosen family first.

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