Reutzel Claims 52 Annual Tuscarora 50 and $52,000 Prize in Front of Sell Out Crowd

By- Justin Snyder


PORT ROYAL, Pa-There’s an old saying that many runners use for running races. 


“It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”


It encourages one to pace themselves. It’s about saving it until the end and having enough to finish. It can also apply to life. Sometimes it takes a while for the payoff to come.


For Aaron Reutzel it took two years. Two years ago, Reutzel rolled into the Port Royal Speedway as a relative unknown. A young upstart trying to make a name for himself, Reutzel wanted to make a statement in Central Pennsylvania against some of the best the country had to offer.


He qualified for the prestigious Tuscarora 50, but he had nothing for 2017 winner Lance Dewease. He got lapped and finished 18th. But it was a learning experience and it left the Clute, Tx., native with a goal…….win the Tuscarora 50.


Saturday night, Reutzel made that dream as a reality as he passed Dewease after a lap 25 competition yellow and never looked back to claim the $52,000 prize to close out the 167th Annual Juniata County Fair and put his name in the history books as the winner of the 52nd Annual Packer’s Concessions and Ramsey’s Car Wash and Garage Tuscarora 50 Sabrina by the Ollie’s Bargain Outlets All Star Circuit of Champions. 


“Unbelievable! I wanted to win this race so bad since the first time we came here,” said Reutzel. “We got lapped by the 69K (in 2017) and I said we were going to have to be up front and have a great racecar where we could just maintain to win. We did it!”


But it wasn’t just Dewease he was holding off. He had 26 other drivers also looking to add their name’s to the list of winners.


Dale Blaney and Dewease started on the front row, but before the field ever took the green Blaney pulled into the infield with motor issues. With his chief competitor for a second consecutive Ollie’s Bargain Outlets All Star Circuit of Champions title sitting in the infield, Reutzel moved forward and would start the 50-lap event from the sixth position.


When the green flag dropped, Dewease jumped out to the early lead over Alan Krimes. Fourth starting James McFadden slid in to the second spot early with Reutzel moving into third by the completion of lap two.


With Dewease checking out, Reutzel showed his muscle early by sliding McFadden for second exiting turn two, however the caution came out on lap three when Kerry Madsen and Cory Eliason got together in the middle of turn’s 1 and 2 and negated the pass. Eliason would rejoin the field with front-wing damage.


On the restart it was once again Dewease jumping out to the lead. Two laps later, Reutzel used a textbook slide job in turn’s one and two to take second from McFadden and he set his sights on the leader.


Back to back Weikert’s Livestock 410 track Point Champion Logan Wagner was also on the move early. After starting seventh, Wagner moved into the top five on lap five as well and settled in behind Krimes.


The leaders hit lap traffic on lap 10 and Reutzel was breathing fire down the back of Dewease. On lap 13 Reutzel made his first move for the lead, passing Dewease on the outside of the speedway exiting turn two. 


Meanwhile, Wagner moved into the fourth spot as well on the same lap.


However, Dewease wasn’t going away. Coming to the flag stand on lap 18, Dewease and Reutzel were side by side. Dewease attempted to slide in front of Reutzel in turn’s one and two, only for Reutzel to cross back under exiting the turn to lead lap 19. Dewease would use momentum exiting the backstretch to then power past Reutzel to lead lap 20 coming to the stripe.


Dewease would speed away in lap traffic, pulling to nearly 2.0 seconds ahead. Reutzel was struggling in lap traffic and Wagner was in heavy pursuit as he had moved into the third spot.


As the competition caution came out at the halfway mark, providing crews 5-minutes to make adjustments and refuel, Reutzel knew it was time to go.


“That was the hardest thing I’ve  ever done in my life. Just trying to maintain with him and not use my stuff up,” said Reutzel.”I was so excited and just wanted to give it 110%, but I had a game plan and wanted to make sure we were going to be there for the second half.”


After making small adjustments and adding fuel, Reutzel wasted no time on the restart. He dove under Dewease in turn’s one and two and took the top spot to lead lap 26. Gone was the plan to conserve tires and the car as Reutzel ripped around the high side of the speedway, opening up a nearly 2.5 second lead by lap 30.


“After that restart and I got by Lance I said screw it and I was going all in,” said Reutzel. “If I burned up my stuff going all in oh well.”


The caution would fly on lap 34 as McFadden slowed on the front stretch while running in the top-five. 


Enter Anthony Macri. The young Dillsburg, Pa. native, who picked up his first win at the Juniata County oval just last week, started the A-Main from the 12th starting spot and on the restart, he was sitting in fifth.


As green flag action returned, Macri dove under Danny Dietrich in turn’s one and two to move into the fourth spot and exiting turn four he slid past Wagner to move into third. It no longer was just the Reutzel and Dewease show.


With 10 to go, Macri was running the fastest laps on the track. Meanwhile, Reutzel was in lap traffic. After jockeying for position for two laps, Macri passed Dewease for second on lap 41 and hoped he would have enough time to track down Reutzel, who held over a 2.5 second advantage.


With five to go, Macri had cut the lead nearly in half. Reutzel was still riding the top of the speedway, while Macri was weaving in and out of traffic using every inch of the speedway.


However, it was just too little, too late as Reutzel played it safe behind lap cars and took the checkered flag by 1.129 seconds over Macri, Dewease, Dietrich and Wagner.


Dylan Cisney, Freddie Rahmer, Justin Peck and Eliason rounded out the top 10.


“I just can’t believe it. To accomplish something like this is just unreal,” said an emotional Reutzel in victory lane. “Just to race with (Dewease) is unreal and to have my name on a race he’s won and where so many legends have won is just unreal.”


Reutzel also remarked how special it was to win the race in front of a huge field of Pennsylvia fans. Track announcers noted earlier in the night that the track was an official sell out with the most fans ever in attendance for a race at the track for the highest paying event in speedway history.


He also congratulated Macri on his run through the field as he didn’t know he was coming so fast.


“Obviously Macri was really good as I had looked up on the board earlier and he wasn’t even in the top five so he really must’ve been coming,” said Reutzel. “This is what makes this so special, to win in front of this many people and this is what makes it possilbe for us to race for 52 thousand to win. It’s unbelievable!”


For Macri, it wasn’t a win but he was ecstatic standing on the front stretch as a second place finisher in the Tuscarora 50.


“This is freaking awesome!,” shouted Macri. “We were gaining on him and just to pass some of the guys we did and to come from where we started is a victory in itself. I’m  ready for the rest of the season.”


For Dewease, he knew after the lap 25 restart that he couldn’t hold off Reutzel and that his chances of winning were likely over barring a setback for him.


“I knew where I needed to be to hold Aaron off, but once he got by us we had nothing for him,” he said. “He’s one of the best driver’s in the country and Anthony just keeps getting better and better. These guys are really good and we just have to get better if we want to win these things.”


Logan Wagner and received $200 curtesy of Ted Reitz. Macri was also the hard charger of the night, gaining 10 positions to receive $300 courtesy of longtime car owners Dick and Leslie Leach.


Results- 1. Aaron Reutzel, 2. Anthony Macro 3.Lance Dewease 4. Danny Dietrich 5. Logan Wagner 6.Mike Wagner 7.Dylan Cisney 8.Freddie Rahmer 9.Justin ;Peck 10.Cory Eliason 11.Alan Krimes 12.Brock Zearfoss 13.Trey Starks 14.Brian Briwn 15.AJ Flick 16.Tyler Walton 17.Skylar Gee 18.Blane Heimbach 19.TJ Stutts 20. Paul ,McMahan 21. Greg Wilson 22.Tony Stewartn 23.Jared Esh 24.James McFadden 25.Ryan Smith 26.Gio Scelzi 27.Kerry Madsen 28. Dale Blaney


Late Models.


Andrew Yoder used a late race pass to pick up his sixth Selinsgrove Ford Limited Late Model victory of the season from a front row starting position. 


Yoder and Dillan Stake led the field to the green flag with Stake jumping out to the early lead. Green flag action was haulted early due to wreck on the opening lap.


Once again it was Stake jumping out to the lead. Stake led comfortably, but as he entered lap traffic on lap 15, Yoder began to plot his move. Yoder made his move on lap 17 and just as he was about to take the lead, the caution flew for debris on the speedway.


Setting up a 5-lap dash for the win, Stake again jumped out the lead. Yoder got an outstanding run coming out of turn two to take the lead and the checkered flag by 2.2 seconds over Stake, Devin Hart, Derick Garman and Donnie Farling.


Jared Fulkroad, Eric Hohol, Taylor Farling, Ryan Zook and Kenny Yoder rounded out the top 10.


Yoder earned $1500 for his efforts. The race was an invitational event with group time trials earlier in the night.


Results- 1. Andrew Yoder 2.Dillan Stake 3.Devin Hart 4.Derrick Garman 5.Donnie Farling 6.Jared Fulkroad 7.Eric Hohol 8.Taylor Farling 9.Ryan Zook 10.Kenny Yoder 11.Steve Kent 12.Devin Frey 13.Steve Todorow 14.Ethan Beasom 15.Derrick Gahagan 16. Scott Landis 17. Drew Weisser 18.Dan Berry 19.Curt Dunn 20. Chase Bowsman