For the third time during Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires, and for the seventh time in 2020, Elk Grove, California’s Kyle Larson is an Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 main event winner, doing so during Justin Snyder’s Salute to the Troops Speedweek finale at Sharon Speedway on Sunday, July 12. ‘Yung Money’ led the final 21 circuits to claim the $6,000 payday, eventually holding off a late surge by two-time and defending All Star champion, Aaron Reutzel.
Skylar Gee, who started from the pole position after winning the first of two All Star dashes, led the first several circuits of the 30-lap contest before losing command to the familiar No. 57. Hard contact with the outside retaining wall just before the flagstand on lap nine resulted in a flat right-rear tire forcing the Leduc, Alberta, Canada-native to retire, ultimately allowing Larson to inherit the top spot. At the time, Reutzel was battling in the third position, followed by Cory Eliason and Dave Blaney.
Restarting on the point, Larson shot out of a cannon, driving off on a very narrow cushion with Reutzel and Eliason still in tow. Although a caution on lap 16 would stack the field and keep Larson in clean air and out of traffic longer, Reutzel eventually chipped away at Larson’s near-two second advantage and powered within just a few car lengths, utilizing a wall tap by Larson on lap 27 and a three-wide pack of lappers to his advantage. A last minute slider by Larson on lap 29 to put a lapped car between himself and Reutzel sealed the deal for the Paul Silva-owned entry.
“I hit the wall and kinda got stuck in it, so I figured I was going to get a flat tire or something. I was just trying to stay calm. I guess I lost focus a little bit right there,” Kyle Larson said of his brush with the wall, driver of the Paul Silva-owned/Durst/Lucas Oil/Tarlton and Sons/No. 57 sprint car. “I knew Aaron (Reutzel) was probably running pretty hard behind me. I didn’t know where he was, but I figured he was going to be right there. I felt like I hadn’t made any mistakes up until that point, but you never know where they’re at.
“This place is awesome,” Larson continued. “Especially when it gets glass slick to the fence. I thought I could maybe shortcut three and four, but I wasn’t as good as what Skylar (Gee) was up against the wall. Once I got the lead, I knew I needed to commit up there as long as I didn’t see Aaron poke to my inside. I never really saw his nose other than that restart.
“I really enjoy coming to Ohio and running Ohio Speedweek. A big thanks to all of the fans for coming out and supporting your local dirt track racing.”
Reutzel held on to finish second on Sunday evening, solidifying a first-ever Cometic Gasket Ohio Sprint Speedweek presented by Hercules Tires speedweek championship. The overall Speedweek title earned the two-time All Star champion and Clute, Texas-native a $4,000 payday.
“We’ve been consistent, so we’ve definitely accomplished that, but I feel like we need to get back on the winning part. If we keep doing what we are doing, the wins will come. Or if we can get Kyle (Larson) to go away, the wins will come. He’s just unreal.” Aaron Reutzel said, driver of the Baughman-Reutzel Motorsports/Fischer Body Shop/Hollywood Coating and Blasting/Folkens Brothers Trucking/No. 87 sprint car. “To watch him run that close to the wall and make contact and keep going is just crazy. I think I needed a caution-free run and additional traffic if I was going to get by Larson. I think I was a little better than he was in those long runs.
“A big thanks to everyone who came out. It was a fun week, but we still have more work to do.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!