Lonnie Wheatley, CLUTE, Texas (February 11, 2015) – Even if his weekend was cut short, they definitely knew he was there.
Aaron Reutzel continued to impress as the All Star Circuit of Champions kicked off the 2015 season at Ocala, Florida’s Bubba Raceway Park this past weekend.
Reutzel was within one lap of victory lane on Friday night aboard the Shark-powered BC Fundz/Basic One Services No. 87 Triple X Sprint Car before additional mechanical issues on Saturday forced the team to the sidelines for Sunday’s card.
“It’s kind of depressing, yet it’s really encouraging to know that we’re still fast, that we’re in the hunt,” Reutzel said after the weekend that opened with a runner-up finish in his All Star debut.
With another pair of 410-ci events in the books, it’s back to 360-ci action next week as Reutzel kicks off his pursuit of the $60,000 Lucas Oil ASCS National championship aboard the Wren Motorsports/Momentum Racing Suspensions machine at Tampa’s East Bay Raceway Park.
Originally scheduled to be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday triple header, last weekend’s action was pushed back a day by inclement weather.
And once Friday’s action got going, it looked as if Reutzel just might pick off his second consecutive 410-ci win after topping Cocopah Speedway’s Winter Heat finale in January.
After winning the Dash to earn the pole position for the feature, Reutzel had the Danny Sander Construction/ButlerBuilt entry out front and in command. But then some of the same gremlins that haunted him during much of the Yuma events resurfaced.
About ten laps into the Friday feature with Reutzel in command, steam began to appear off the engine.
“We were leading, so I tried to stick it out,” Reutzel explained. “I knew Bob (Miller) would kill me if I pulled in.”
Reutzel kept his chasers at a distance as he nimbly maneuvered through traffic in the Lone Star Hydro Maintenance/Wright Way Logistics machine. But the situation wasn’t getting any better.
“Around lap 20 it really started to lay down on me,” Reutzel said. “We were really getting through traffic pretty good though, so I thought we might hold them off.”
The yellow lights flickering on with three laps to go was the last thing the Clute, TX, racer wanted to see.
“That killed us, under the yellow I had a hard time even keeping it running,” Reutzel explained. “I thought they might just drive around us at the cone on the restart.”
The mount ran well enough to keep Kerry Madsen at bay for two laps. But not quite three, as Madsen powered by on the high side with Reutzel settling for second after leading for 28 laps in his All Star debut.
“Coming off turn four for the white flag, it was just barely going,” Reutzel said. “I tried to shut it down as soon as I took the checkered and it seized up before I could even shut off the fuel.”
More problems persisted after an engine change before Saturday night action.
“It started rattling in the heat, so I pulled it in,” Reutzel says.
But after going through the engine, it was more of the same in the feature. “I had to pull in again in the feature, we looked and it broke the rear main cap. That’s something you never hear of happening.”
Out of 410-ci bullets for the weekend, Reutzel and company were spectators for Sunday’s Ocala action.
Still, a runner-up finish and continued speed for the No. 87 team made for another successful weekend going into the opening pair of ASCS weekends at East Bay and then Ocala.
“It was good to go there and get a little practice,” Reutzel says of the laps at Bubba Raceway Park. “It’s a different place, you can’t really even tell just by looking but it’s really different. Getting some laps was definitely a good thing.”
2015 Quick Stats: 7 races, one win, two top-fives, four front-row feature starts.
Up Next: The Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour season opener at Tampa’s East Bay Raceway Park on February 19-21.
Keep Track: Keep track of Aaron Reutzel’s on-track action including schedule and results at http://www.aaronreutzelracing.com/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Aaron-Reutzel-Racing/117666254913127 or on Twitter at @AaronReutzel. You can also e-mail Aaron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like Aaron Reutzel Racing press releases e-mailed directly to you, send your e-mail address to Lonnie Wheatley at email@example.com.
Penning the recurring series of “The Wheatley Chronicles” articles on racinboys.com, Lonnie Wheatley provides media, public relations and more for select tracks, drivers and events. For more information, Wheatley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.