By MIKE MALLETT
The 2018 season has been going pretty well for Texas native Aaron Reutzel. The long-time 360 Sprint Car star earned his way into a new ride for a full-time assault with the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions while also picking up his first ever Craftsman World of Outlaws Sprint Car victory.
On Friday night the 27-year-old driver competed at the Williams Grove Speedway for the first time. Unfortunately the night didn’t go nearly as well as the rest of the season as motor issued slowed him for much of the evening.
“This is a pretty cool joint,” he said about Williams Grove. “It is definitely tough to race early in the night when it’s pretty heavy. There in the A it seemed to be pretty racey. We were pretty good. I was surprised I adapted this quick, but we had engine troubles all night and that cut our night short.”
Even though his night wasn’t what he had hoped, Reutzel was still confident after the event. As he should be. The team has come out of the gate strong which helped propel him to his first ever World of Outlaws win at Thunderbowl Raceway in California.
“It was incredible,” mentioned Reutzel about the Outlaw win. “Words can’t describe how I felt. I’ve led at least two races every year since 2015. I seem to let them all get away so it was really cool to finally get that first one out of the way.”
Reutzel made the trek east to get experience after events in Ohio were weathered out late in the week. He’ll use what he learned Friday night for when the ASCoC heads to Williams Grove and Port Royal Speedway next weekend.
It will mark Reutzel’s first ever attempt at running the entire year with the touring organization after teaming up with Josh Baughman in the off-season.
“It’s about time,” joked Reutzel. “I definitely felt like I stayed in the 360’s too long. It’s just awesome to have someone finally give me the opportunity like the Baughman’s are giving and the Folkens, Precision Catalyst and Nattress Construction, all these guys are giving me the opportunity and I’m just glad I’m performing for them so far.”
With it being his first year on the tour, Reutzel has a goal of being in the mix with the best the series has to offer. He’s a former ASCS national champion so he understands what it takes to earn a title.
“I just want to be in contention, that’s all,” cited Reutzel. “Really no expectations. We’ve started out our year strong. I just want to win some races and be in contention for the championship. Chad (Kemenah) is going to be really tough to beat. He’s really consistent so we can’t have nights like we did tonight.”
Reutzel will turn his attention to Port Royal Speedway on Saturday night, a place he has one visit in his career. He’ll hope to attain even more knowledge as he looks to kick of the ASCoC tour next week with a pair of solid finishes.