KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Aaron Reutzel outdueled defending American Sprint Car Series national champion Sam Hafertepe Jr. to win Thursday night’s McCarthy Auto Group KC Klassic presented by Racinboys.com at Lakeside Speedway.
The win was the 14th of his Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour career and first of the season.
“You know, Sam and I have been able race each other clean so hats off to Sam for that,” said Reutzel, who was greeted in victory lane by his son Carson. “I felt the bottom was there and I was watching lapped cars as I was catching them and none of them were running the top. I wasn’t sure if it was because they couldn’t run up there or not, but I finally did see a nose get under me so I went all out and that’s when Sam went by me, but luckily I was able to get back by him.”
“This a big win for my guys. We’ve been knocking on the door for a while to get a win.”
Battling early with Matt Covington, the pair was wheel to wheel at both ends of the four-tenths mile oval for the first three laps before the red lights blinked on for Cody Ledger, who flipped in turn two.
Challenging the low line on the No. 87 on the restart, Reutzel held off Covington’s No. 95 with Hafertepe in tow. Running the top in one and two and the hub in three and four, Reutzel garnered some breathing room as Hafertepe moved to the runner-up spot on lap 11.
Starting to work into slower traffic as the race moved past the halfway point, the top three were all within striking distance with the trio utilizing multiple grooves in hopes of gaining the advantage.
Rolling off the second turn, Hafertepe snagged the top spot on lap 18. Crossing down the track, Aaron returned the move in kind as both drivers navigated the bottom side of the Speedway. Having run a diamond line to catch and pass Reutzel, the change of line by Hafertepe was due to a lack of tear-offs.
“I wanted to keep running the top, but it got to where I couldn’t see the wall anymore … and I didn’t want to junk the car,” Hafertepe explained.
Trailing the No. 87 by 0.668 seconds at the checkered flag, Hafertepe’s winning streak ended at five races.
Covington posted his best finish of the season with a third-place showing in the T&L Foundry No. 95 with Josh Baughman crossing fourth in the FK Midwest No. 17. Dustin Morgan completed the top five in the Ark Wrecking No. 93.
Tony Stewart finished seventh.
The Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour returns to action over Memorial Day weekend at El Paso County Raceway and Phillips County Raceway, May 27-28.
RESULTS: Lucas Oil ASCS National Tour; Lakeside Speedway; May 11, 2017
A Feature (25 Laps): 1. 87-Aaron Reutzel ; 2. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr. ; 3. 95-Matt Covington ; 4. 17-Josh Baughman ; 5. 93-Dustin Morgan ; 6. 24-Terry McCarl ; 7. 14-Tony Stewart ; 8. 2C-Wayne Johnson ; 9. 33-Danny Lasoski ; 10. 45X-Johnny Herrera ; 11. 23-Seth Bergman ; 12. 21-Brian Brown ; 13. 53-Jack Dover ; 14. 44-Chris Martin ; 15. 1-Justin Henderson ; 16. 52-Blake Hahn ; 17. 28-Jonathan Cornell ; 18. 18-Ian Madsen ; 19. 76-Jay Russell ; 20. 5J-Jamie Ball ; 21. 99-Skylar Gee ; 22. 36-Jason Martin ; 23. 14K-Kyle Bellm ; 24. 35L-Cody Ledger ; 25. 27-Danny Thoman .
Lap Leader(s): Reutzel 1-17, 19-25; Hafertepe 18.
CP-Carrillo Hard Charger: Wayne Johnson (+6)
FSR High Point Driver: Matt Covington
CREDIT: ASCS Communications