Reutzel Romps to Henson Memorial Triumph at I-30 Speedway!

Aaron Reutzel

Lonnie Wheatley, LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (September 29, 2022) – Aaron Reutzel kicked off the final Short Track Nationals weekend at I-30 Speedway by racing to victory lane in Thursday night’s 25-lap “15th Annual Ralph Henson Memorial” event atop the high-banked, ¼-mile clay oval.

Reutzel outlasted fellow front row starter Wayne Johnson in the opening circuits and then raced on to a convincing $5,646 victory aboard the Ridge & Sons Racing Mobil 1/Folkens Brothers Trucking No. 8 Sprint Car in the ASCS Mid-South season finale.

“We’ve still got a few things to clean up to have a chance to win on Saturday night,” the Clute, TX, native commented in victory lane. “It does feel really good to get at least one more win at one of my favorite tracks to race at, hopefully we can get at least one more this weekend.”

Reutzel gridded the field from the front row outside and gunned into a commanding lead over pole starter Johnson on the original start only to have it negated when the red flag flew for a backstretch double-tumble involving California’s Justin Sanders and Pennsylvania’s Mark Smith.

Johnson got the better of Reutzel on the second start only to have Reutzel slide back into the lead in turns three and four on the opening lap. Johnson slid back around Reutzel in the next pair of corners only to have Reutzel counter the move again a half-lap later.

Reutzel fought off Johnson for several rounds and began to extend his lead when he reached traffic after just seven laps.

Reutzel worked through traffic in the ensuing rounds, riding a treacherous cushion as Sam Hafertepe, Jr., made his way past Johnson for second on the 15th round before a caution flew for Michael Day’s stalled mount in turn two.

With three lapped cars separating himself from Hafertepe, Jr., and Johnson on the restart, Reutzel stretched out a near straightaway lead by the time Hafertepe, Jr., finally navigated his way through traffic and held the advantage to the stripe.

“That cushion was wild, it was pretty tricky,” Reutzel said afterward.

Hafertepe, Jr., the 2020 Short Track Nationals champion, held the runner-up position the rest of the way while Jordon Mallett slipped past the dicing Oklahoma City duo of Johnson and Ryan Timms in the final corner to snare the final podium position as the trio crossed the stripe in three-wide formation.

Johnson settled for fourth, while Timms’ run from 13th nearly netted third before losing two positions in the final corner to cross the line in fifth. Timms wasted little time working forward from the seventh row, moving into fourth by the tenth circuit and spent the rest of the way battling with Mallett and then Johnson.

Derek Hagar finished sixth to secure not only the ASCS Mid-South Region championship but the I-30 Speedway track title as well that secures a provisional starting position in Saturday’ 35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires finale if needed.
“It’s nice to know I have a guaranteed spot, but I’m hoping we can race our way to a better starting position,” Hagar explained.

Brad Bowden claimed seventh with Garet Williamson earning a $200 Hard Charger bonus by racing from 18th to eighth. Kyler Johnson was ninth with Dylan Westbrook the final car on the lead lap in 20th.

Smith and Sanders shared Hard Luck honors for the night.

With 74 cars filling the pit area, Chad Jones, Day, Mallett, Ryan Bickett, Jace Park, Kyler Johnson, Wayne Johnson and Bowden topped heat race action with Timms, Westbrook, Moore and Tim Crawley winning “B” Mains.

“B” Main action was marred by several flips including a wild ride off the top of turn two by Indiana’s Tylar Rankin as well as tumbles by Cody Gardner and Ronny Howard. There were no reported injuries.

Thursday’s card set the stage for the $15,041-to-win 35th Annual COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tires that takes place at I-30 Speedway on Friday and Saturday.

ASCS Mid-South Region Sprint Cars

I-30 Speedway – Little Rock, AR

15th Annual Ralph Henson Memorial

Heat Races (Eight Heat Winners Plus Top Four in Passing Points Lock into “A” Main; Balance to Four “B” Mains):

First Heat (8 Laps): 1. 29-Chad Jones (1), 2. 10-Landon Britt (2), 3. 23-Seth Bergman (3), 4. G6-Cody Gardner (6), 5. 2-Chase Porter (5), 6. 39-Justin Sanders (8), 7. 2T-Todd Bradford (7), 8. 5L-Dusty Young (9), 9. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (10), 10. 72p-Gary Floyd (4).

Second Heat (8 Laps): 1. 91-Michael Day (2), 2. 22-Riley Goodno (4), 3. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (7), 4. 55b-Brandon Anderson (6), 5. 5T-Ryan Timms (8), 6. 16-Steven Howell (3), 7. 42p-Preston Perlmutter (9), 8. 38-Rick Pringle (5), 9. 85-Josh McCord (10), 10. 132-Jamie Manley (1).

Third Heat (8 Laps): 1. 14-Jordon Mallett (2), 2. 52-Blake Hahn (4), 3. 74-Tucker Boulton (1), 4. 95-Matt Covington (8), 5. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (3), 6. 43m-Mark Smith (9), 7. 44-Ronny Howard (6), 8. 8m-Kade Morton (7), 9. 938-Bradley Fezard (5).

Fourth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 17b-Ryan Bickett (1), 2. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (6), 3. 10p-Dylan Postier (2), 4. 16c-Tylar Rankin (5), 5. 77-Jack Wagner (5), 6. 22s-Slater Helt (7), 7. 91z-Zach Pringle (9), 8. 1k-Dewayne White (3), 9. 13-Chase Howard (8).

Fifth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 87J-Jace Park (2), 2. 41-Colton Hardy (3), 3. 24-Jeffrey West (1), 4. 12m-Greg Merritt (4), 5. 1s-Joey Schmidt (6), 6. 19-Jason Long (5), 7. 97-Scotty Milan (7), 8. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (8), 9. 21r-Gunner Ramey (DNS).

Sixth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 45x-Kyler Johnson (2), 2. 24w-Garet Williamson (3), 3. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (6), 4. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (4), 5. 26-Marshall Skinner (1), 6. 30-Joseph Miller (5), 7. 99-Blake Jenkins (8), 8. 73-Daniel Wagner (9), 9. 71-Bradyn Baker (7).

Seventh Heat (8 Laps): 1. 2c-Wayne Johnson (3), 2. 9jr-Derek Hagar (5), 3. 1jr-Steven Russell (1), 4. 87-Tim Crawley (7), 5. 36-Jason Martin (4), 6. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (9), 7. 17a-Alex Lyles (2), 8. 13m-Chance McCrary (8), 9. 48-Wade Buttrey (6).

Eighth Heat (8 Laps): 1. 4x-Brad Bowden (2), 2. 47-Dale Howard (3), 3. 3-Howard Moore (6), 4. 67-Hayden Martin (1), 5. 51b-Joe B. Miller (9), 6. 187-Landon Crawley (8), 7. 84-Brandon Hanks (5), 8. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (7), 9. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (4).

“B” Mains – Top 2 from Each Transfer to “A” Main:

First “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 5T-Ryan Timms (4), 2. 39-Justin Sanders (7), 3. 77-Jack Wagner (8), 4. 52-Blake Hahn (1), 5. 41-Colton Hardy (2), 6. 10-Landon Britt (3), 7. 8m-Kade Morton (13), 8. 97-Scotty Milan (11), 9. 48-Wade Buttrey (15), 10. 132-Jamie Manley (16), 11. 84-Brandon Hanks (12), 12. 30-Joseph Miller (10), 13. 91a-Ernie Ainsworth (6), 14. 38-Rick Pringle (14), 15. 74-Tucker Boulton (5), 16. 42p-Preston Perlmutter (9).

Second “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (1), 2. 24w-Garet Williamson (2), 3. 51b-Joe B. Miller (3), 4. 24-Jeffrey West (5), 5. 36-Jason Martin (6), 6. 187-Landon Crawley (7), 7. 91z-Zach Pringle (9), 8. 99-Blake Jenkins (8), 9. 15J-Jeremy Middleton (13), 10. 12m-Greg Merritt (4), 11. 938-Bradley Fezard (15), 12. 21k-Kevin Hinkle (10), 13. 44-Ronny Howard (13), 14. 10k-Dewayne White (12), 15. 21r-Gunner Ramey (14), 16. 23-Seth Bergman (DNS).

Third “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 3-Howard Moore (1), 2. 47-Dale Howard (2), 3. 1jr-Steven Russell (5), 4. 10p-Dylan Postier (4), 5. 26-Marshall Skinner (7), 6. 17F-Chad Frewaldt (11), 7. 13m-Chance McCrary (12), 8. 12h-Tony Bruce, Jr. (6), 9. 5L-Dusty Young (9), 10. 13-Chase Howard (14), 11. 16-Steven Howell (10), 12. 27J-Joseph Poe, Jr. (13), 13. 22s-Slater Helt (8), 14. G6-Cody Gardner (3), 15. 67-Hayden Martin (DNS).

Fourth “B” Feature (12 Laps): 1. 87-Tim Crawley (2), 2. 43m-Mark Smith (5), 3. 2-Chase Porter (7), 4. 71-Bradyn Baker (14), 5. 2T-Todd Bradford (10), 6. 73-Samuel Wagner (11), 7. 17a-Alex Lyles (12), 8. 19-Jason Long (9), 9. 99L-Lewis Jenkins, Jr. (8), 10. 95-Matt Covington (1), 11. 55b-Brandon Anderson (3), 12. 85-Josh McCord (13), 13. 16c-Tylar Rankin (4), 14. 1s-Joey Schmidt (6), 15. 72p-Gary Floyd (DNS).

“A” Feature:

A Feature (25 Laps – Starting position in parentheses): 1. 8r-Aaron Reutzel (2), 2. 15h-Sam Hafertepe, Jr. (3), 3. 14-Jordon Mallett (6), 4. 2c-Wayne Johnson (1), 5. 5T-Ryan Timms (13), 6. 9jr-Derek Hagar (4), 7. 4x-Brad Bowden (9), 8. 24w-Garet Williamson (18), 9. 45x-Kyler Johnson (7), 10. 47x-Dylan Westbrook (14), 11. 22-Riley Goodno (10), 12. 29-Chad Jones (11), 13. 87J-Jace Park (8), 14. 17b-Ryan Bickett (12), 15. 91-Michael Day (5), 16. 47-Dale Howard (19), 17. 87-Tim Crawley (16), 18. 3-Howard Moore (15), 19. 39-Justin Sanders (17), 20. 43m-Mark Smith (20).

Lap Leaders: Aaron Reutzel 1-25.