RPW Column: ESS Point Leader Paulie Colagiovanni Surprises Outlaw Field With Runner-Up Finish At Ransomville

Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – RANSOMVILLE, NY – “The Greatest Show On Dirt” in the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars invaded Ransomville Speedway for their first appearance in New York in over 1000 days.

Aaron Reutzel won his fourth race of the season, but Paulie Colagiovanni was the story.

The points leader in the Empire Super Sprints 360 series upgraded his engine to a 410 for the weekend and impressed the field, nearly pulling off the upset in his fourth career Outlaw feature, challenging Reutzel in the final laps for the win in a green-white checkered.

Is this one of the best moments in Paulie’s career?

“Absolutely,” said the 20-year-old from Cicero, NY, who went from flipping out of the track the last time the Outlaws were at “The Big R” in 2018 to finishing second in 2021.

The 30-lap feature saw points leader Brad Sweet and rookie Reutzel come to Johnny Nelson’s green and a flurry of fireworks went off. Reutzel got the advantage early over “The Big Cat” as the high side was the preferred line on starts. Colagiovanni and Sweet nearly tangled at the line to begin lap two as the former was looking low on Sweet. The first yellow would fly as the leader hit lap three when Danny Varin broke a rear axle.

On the restart, Reutzel would hold serve. Colagiovanni had a chance to pass Sweet on the outside down the back chute, but had no room to make the pass and backed off the gas. Paulie would make the pass stick in one and two on lap 12 as Sweet slid up while Colagiovanni held his line up top and had enough room to sail by and closed in on leader Aaron Reutzel while in lapped traffic.

With ten to go, Colagiovanni was within a second. Five to go, he was within three car lengths of the leader. Using the top shelf as Reutzel ran the bottom, Paulie couldn’t close in down the back chute surprisingly. But at the line for four to go, Reutzel was stuck in heavy traffic, Colagiovanni cutting down another car length. Reutzel would pass the backmarker of Matt Farnham while Colagiovanni was slowed up, increasing the lead again for “A-A-Ron”, but with two to go, Sheldon Haudenschild would suffer a flat right rear tire. This would lead to a green-white-checkered between the top two.

Both would use their normal lanes as they ran for most of the night. In three and four on the restart, Colagiovanni would diamond the corner to get a run at the white to cut it to a car length. Trying to set up a move, Colagiovanni ran the high side again, Reutzel the bottom. On the exit, Reutzel would have a slight advantage that would give Reutzel his fourth win of 2021.

“I could hear he was running hard,” Reutzel told RPW on battling Colagiovanni. “I was just trying to use up as much racetrack as I could, but yet stay within my line. You kind of look at who’s behind you. You can predict at what they’ll do. I didn’t know who the kid was. I just went to what I knew was working the last few laps and hung on.”

“Second place with the World of Outlaws is a damn good finish,” an excited Colagiovanni said. “I didn’t want to drive it in too hard. It was getting a little clumpy in two. We were right on the wall. This was the first night on the motor and car. We were hooked up right out of the gate. It was easy to drive and I loved it. It was a lot of fun.”

In Sportsman competition, it was Cam Tuttle who would make an outside pass at the halfway point on fellow front row sitter Andrew Smith to take the win. A late race restart provided drama too, but would hold off Smith and Austin Susice for Tuttle’s second win at Ransomville this season and possibly a win on one of the biggest stages he’s been part of.

Tomorrow night, the Outlaws invade Weedsport Speedway for the Empire State Challenge. As for Ransomville, they return for a full card Friday night.

Due to technical difficulties, interviews with Reutzel, Colagiovanni, and Kraig Kinser, plus pre-race talks with Brad Sweet will be up on the RSN Trackside Facebook page later today.

World of Outlaws (30 Laps)
83 Aaron Reutzel, 2. 10 Paulie Colagiovanni (0.325s), 3. 11k Kraig Kinser (1.482s), 4. 49 Brad Sweet (1.658s), 5. 2 David Gravel (2.713s), 6. 41 Carson Macedo (2.912s), 7. 1S Logan Schuchart (3.055s), 8. 15 Donny Schatz (3.840s), 9. 9 James McFadden (4.231s), 10. 3Z Brock Zearfoss (4.788s), 11. 2C Wayne Johnson (5.510s), 12. 17 Sheldon Haudenschild (5.680s), 13. 7S Jason Sides (6.064s), 14. 97 Greg Wilson (6.435s), 15. 1A Jacob Allen (6.994s), 16. 7NY Matt Farnham (-1L), 17. 2L Landon Lalonde (-1L), 18. 11 Carl Bowser (8.048s), 19. X Dan Bennett (-1L), 20. 36 Mike Stetler (-1L), 21. 54JR Scott Just (-2L), 22. 35 Jared Zimbardi (-4L), 23. 00 Danny Varin (-29L), 24. 2X Dave Axton (-29L)
Heat Winners: 49 Sweet, 2 Gravel, 83 Reutzel
Fastest Lap: 83 Reutzel 16.353s
Quicktime: 11K Kinser 13.949s

Sportsman (25 Laps)
35T Cam Tuttle, 2. 1s Andy Smith (1.617s), 3. 81 Austin Susice (1.948s), 4. 111b Brett Senek (2.235s), 5. 61 Derek Wagner (2.680s), 6. 99 Brett Martin (3.103s), 7. 36M Zach George (3.262s), 8. 1K Scott Kerwin (3.784s), 9. 26 Kyle Richner (4.566s), 10. 25 Derek Borkenhagan (5.223s), 11. 68 Dave Dipietro (5.226s), 12. 22x Noah Walker (5.883s), 13. 14D Dylan Duhow (6.375s), 14. 3 Justin McKay (6.584s), 15. 5 Clayton Cain (7.976s), 16. 07 Brian Harris (8.244s), 17. 28 Jordan Moden (9.112s), 18. 63 Jessica Krigisch (10.348s), 19. 86N Tim Nies (-4L)
Heat Winners: 111b Senek, 35T Tuttle, 81 Susice
Fastest Lap: 1s Smith 19.023s