By BILL FOLEY
Mike Gular is a regular on the Short Track Super Series roster, but only once entering the Sunshine Swing at Bubba Raceway had he won a race against the formidable talent that Brett Deyo regularly assembles.
It was back in 2018 at the Orange County Speedway when he captured his one and only win.
However, on Saturday night at Bubba he had the lead, fell back to fourth, had on track contact with challenger Stewart Friesen and took the lead with seven laps to go for an $8,000 victory.
While watching his crew and STSS tech folks do their post race duty Gular spoke exclusively with Dirt Track Digest.
The winner said, “This feels really good. The guys worked so hard all week and we hadn’t started off so hot. They just kept digging. I got use to to this place a little bit and figured out what we had to do and thank goodness we are bringing that money back to PA.”
Reflecting on the 50 lapper Gular said, ”We were really good in the beginning on the bottom until it started burning off and I was getting loose. Then I went up to the topside a little and it felt better in the brown. (Billy) Decker got by me as I kept messing up with the top in one and two, but then I fell back to fourth and under the yellow I searched around a little and found out how to change my line up a little to make it work better. It was up to me to make the adjustments to see where it was good to go. To come down here and beat all these guys as there is so much quality just leaves me at a loss for words.”
Of his midrace contact with Friesen s the duo raced side by side down the front stretch where they touched and the 44 took a wild car destroying trip into the first turn implement tire and wall, he said, ”I feel bad for Stew there and that wasn’t really my fault as he came down. It is what it is, but he’s a buddy of mine, probably not right now or the immediate future, but that’s racing. We are all down here to do the same damn thing and that is to win and we weren’t leaving anything on the table.”
About the contact and a possible negative result in his car during the remainder of the race, he explained, “I was looking at the right front to see if it was but, but it seemed to be up there pretty good. I figured we were all right after that.”
Gular ran an interesting line on the high side of turn four as he set the car up for the front stretch.
He talked about the strategy by saying, “Yeah, there was some bite up there and it was really slick off the bottom and I just figured I could keep my momentum going better up there. You gotta go where they ain’t so that is what I did.”
The race had strange momentum swings for most of the drivers.
It was no different for Gular as he explained, ”You gotta move around out there. When I fell back to fourth, I knew I had to figure out something quick. You know it’s mostly that you just had to get it to work by the end of the day.”
Figuring out the track was a challenge for all drivers throughout the week and when asked about it the track was more consistent on the final night he said, “This place is tough and tricky. I think we finally got the car where we needed it to be adjustment wise to make it drivable. It wasn’t really drivable earlier in the week. We had good grip, but it was just so tight all of the time and I kept losing the front end.”
Continuing, he said, “Even tonight I was losing the front end and maybe it was the nut behind the wheel.”
Gular could not have been in victory lane by himself and he gave credit where credit was due.
“I have to thank all my guys, my wife at home and kids and family. We keep the cars at the mother and father in laws shop JSG Motorsports and they put their heart and soul in it. Terry, who owns it, gives me the best that I can possibly have. We have only the best stuff. It’s a great way to start off the season down here. Our sponsors include Extreme Mechanical, Conestoga Custom Kitchens, Penske Shocks as Dave Reedy helped us a ton down here this week and big hats off to him as he got me off of doing some of the regular stuff I do that wasn’t working. American Racer was great. I have to thank everybody. What a night,” he said.
Though the week capped off in solid fashion he looked back at the first two nights.
Mike said, “We got a 15th and a 7th and nothing to write home about the last two nights so it felt good to put it up front tonight.”
It was a good kick off for the 2021 campaign as Mike talked about his plans, as “We will run Big Diamond on Friday night, North-South Series, but not really sure what we will do on Saturday nights yet. We will play it out and see which way we will go.”