By Benjamin James
James McFadden claimed his second Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions win in-a-row last Friday evening, but this one was much less dramatic.. McFadden drove past Cory Eliason on lap 16 and never looked back. He continued to set a dominant pace while stretching his lead through lapped traffic.
The win was McFadden’s fourth in 10 All Star events and solidified that the Australian was the right pick to fill in for the injured Kasey Kahne. He will run in central Pennsylvania this week.
Eliason maintained second the length of the event, while Tim Shaffer brought the Tony Stewart Racing No. 14 home third. Championship points leader Aaron Reutzel and Chad Kemenah completed the top five.
Aaron Reutzel set fast time for the 37-car field with a lap of 11.361. Brandon Wimmer, rising star Sye Lynch, local Kory Crabtree, and Eliason took heat race wins. Eliason and Reutzel took the Dash wins, while Cap Henry won the B main.
SATURDAY: When there is big money on the line with the All Stars, one name comes to mind: Aaron Reutzel. Every time the pay out is increased, he seems to find a way to the front of the field. That was the case, yet again, last Saturday night in the $12,554-to-win A-Main.
With extremely locked down and rubbered up track conditions, the Clute, TX, native made the most of a solid starting position and never looked back. Reutzel also set fast time and won his respective Dash. After winning his respective Dash, Cole Duncan ran second. Local Jimmy Stinson ran third. Kemenah and Dale Blaney completed the top five.
Heat races for the 39 car field went to Eliason, Brinton Marvel, Blaney and Kemenah. Greg Wilson won the B-Main.
WEEKEND RIDE CHANGES: Tony Stewart Piloted his No. 14 on Thursday before turning the seat over to sprint car veteran Tim Shaffer for the remainder of the week. Shaffer finished third and tenth in his stint with TSR. … Cale Thomas piloted Ron Gorby’s No. G1 into the a main Saturday evening.
KEMENAH BACK IN FORM: Chad Kemenah is a six-time Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All-Star Circuit of Champions point champion. Throughout the past two seasons he’s had his share of ups and downs and has bounced around between rides.
Last season, he made a limited number of starts in a John Garvin entry. Kemenah returned to the ride this season and since hiring crew chief AJ Haven’s a few weeks ago, their program is night and day different. Kemenah is qualifyng well and back up front contesting for wins with the All Stars.
After making the dash on three consecutive nights at Atomic, the multi-time champion recorded three top fives, one of which was a podium run. He does have a win in unsanctioned competition already this season.
TRACK CONDITIONS: Many All-Star teams had complaints about track conditions over the course of the three-day weekend. Almost the entire main event on Saturday was ran on a rubber-down surface.
It should be noted that a separate third party promotes the Knittle Memorial. They did a fantastic job throughout the event.
POINT UPDATE: The All-Star Circuit of Champions point chase had been a good one up front all season long. Current point leader Aaron Reutzel has swapped the lead with Dale Blaney multiple times.
For the majority of the season, the rest of the top five remained the same. However, after having to over come some mechanical failures last month, Brock Zearfoss has worked his way past Paul McMahon for the fourth spot. Eliason still maintains third. Greg Wilson has worked his way to sixth. The remaining four spots are all occupied by rookies. Gerard McIntyre Jr. leads Skylar Gee, George Hobaugh, and late comer to the series Justin Peck.
MORE TO COME: The All Stars have just four races remaining on the schedule. Three of the four will be contested this weekend on Pennsylvania Posse turf. Friday, the series heads to Williams Grove Speedway for a make-up event worth $6,000, before jumping down the road to Lincoln Speedway for the $20,000-to-win “Dirt Classic.” They will wrap up the three weekend stint just south of border at Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, MD.
The Series will wrap up it’s season the following Saturday, as it serves as the second leg of Eldora Speedways “4-Crown Nationals.” Blaney or Reutzel could easily win the Championship. Barring an unforeseen incident, Eliason will take third and, most likely, Rookie of the Year Honors. Zearfoss currently has McMahon edged out in a war for fourth and fifth.
It will be interesting to see how many All Star teams support an unsanctioned event at BAPS Motor Speedway on Thursday evening. Both Eliason and McIntyre have won there already this season, and Zearfoss has run in all events that didn’t conflict with his schedule.