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ERIE, Pa. (July 20, 2018) - Lockbourne, Ohio’s Cole Duncan was just four circuits away from claiming a second consecutive Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 victory at Eriez Speedway on Friday night when Clute, Texas’ Aaron Reutzel stepped-up and stole the show. Utilizing lapped traffic during the closing circuits of the 30-lapper, Reutzel, who started fourth on the feature grid, was able to drive underneath Duncan at the exit of turn two on lap 27, ultimately ending a high paced, nose-to-tail chase around Eriez Speedway.
Still well in command of the All Star Circuit of Champions’ season win list, the I-79 Summer Shootout victory increased Reutzel’s win total to six on the year with all six occurring at different facilities. In addition, Reutzel became the fifth different driver in five All Star Circuit of Champions starts to earn a trip to Eriez Speedway victory lane.
The “Wild Child” Jac Haudenschild crossed under the final checkers just behind Duncan and Reutzel, followed by Dave Blaney and Tim Shaffer.
“For the most part, we were pretty equal tonight,” Aaron Reutzel said of Cole Duncan. “It was going to take lapped traffic for me to get around him. It just played out perfect for us. It was one of those nights where we were better off running second.”
Jumping to third after the initial green, Reutzel’s chase for the top spot commenced with just a few laps recorded, actually sneaking around Tyler Esh to take the second spot officially on lap two. Showing signs of potential early, Reutzel’s first, official bid for the top spot occurred on lap six, utilizing a slide job through turns three and four to get by Cole Duncan. Unfortunately for Reutzel, the pass was negated due to a caution just as the leaders were about to cross by the flagstand.
In clean air, Duncan was dominant, keeping a safe distance between himself and the field for the first 14 circuits, especially after caution flags reappeared on lap 11 clearing the track ahead of him. By lap 21, traffic started to become an obvious factor allowing Reutzel to cut down on Duncan’s advantage. The pair raced nearly nose-to-tail for the next six circuits before Reutzel made his winning move, capitalizing on Duncan’s failed attempt to maneuver around slower cars as the duo battled off of turn two on lap 27.
From that point forward, it was all Aaron Reutzel at the front of the field, eventually driving away from his fellow frontrunners during the final three circuits to earn a trip to the frontstretch victory lane.
The All Star Circuit of Champions will continue I-79 Summer Shootout weekend with a Saturday night visit to “Dirt’s Monster Half-Mile.”
Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway (PPMS), located just minutes from downtown Pittsburgh, will host Tony Stewart’s All Stars on just one occasion in 2018; the final Western Pennsylvania visit for the Series this season. Incidentally, All Star Circuit of Champions owner, Tony Stewart, earned the top prize at PPMS one year ago, claiming the $5,000 payday over Lemoore, California’s Carson Macedo and 1881 Racing’s Lee Jacobs on Monday, July 24.
Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway will allow pit access beginning at 12 p.m. A mandatory All Star drivers meeting will take shape at 6 p.m., followed by hot laps at 6:40 p.m. Those seeking additional news and notes should visit PPMS live on the Web at www.ppms.com.
Contingency Awards/Results: Eriez Speedway - Friday, July 20, 2018:
Heat #1 - Group (A) (8 Laps) - Top 7 Transfer
Heat #2 - Group (B) (8 Laps) - Top 7 Transfer
Heat #3 - Group (C) (8 Laps) - Top 7 Transfer
Dash #1 (6 Laps)
A-Main (30 Laps)
All Star Circuit of Champions Driver Standings: (after 7/20/2018)
About the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1:
About Arctic Cat: