Podiums for Gular and Maresa plus Port Royal Notes – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

There are happy second place finishes and then there are second places finishes that just leave you wondering what could have been.  They leave you despondent and disappointed. On Sunday at Port Royal Speedway, you can use the latter to describe Mike Gular’s feelings after the race.

Gular led early on in the 40-lap feature until a high-flying Stewart Friesen passed him to takeover the top spot. Gular fell back to third as Ryan Godown also went by. A lap 15 yellow saw Friesen exit the race putting Godown in the lead and Gular back to second. As the race went on Gular hounded Godown and was able to grab the lead back on lap 26 and pull away. 

A series of yellows slowed the race for the last 10 laps allowing Godown to take multiple shots at Gular for the lead, but each time Gular was able to fend off the challenges from Godown. Finally on the last lap, Godown threw a Hail Mary going through turns one and two up along the fence and managed to complete the pass and steal the win away from a stunned Gular leaving the Boyertown, Pa., driver a very disappointing runner-up finish.

“We had a strong run today, obviously disappointed with the finish,” said a happy yet sad Gular post-race. “It was still a solid run; the car was very good, and we made all the right calls todays. It was a good race and hopefully the fans enjoyed it and hats off to Ryan (Godown), he is on fire right now and taking all of the money.”




Gular and his team opted to run an open 360 motor on Sunday while electing to save their big=block for competition with with the Super DIRTcar at Atomic Speedway in Ohio. With the track slicking off in the latter parts of the race I asked Gular if racing the small=block helped him.

“Honestly, I think it hurt us on the restarts but once the track slicked up, I think it didn’t hurt us and maybe even gave us a small advantage,” explained Gular. “This track is such a momentum track that I don’t think it really matters what motor combination you have as they all seem to work well.”

Once Gular lost the lead, he kept at it stalking Godown lap after lap before he was able to complete the pass and once again take command.

“Once I saw where he (Godown) was running, I started moving around a little bit to see where his weakness was,” said Gular. “That’s what happens when you are running second, you can see they are lacking and where you can gain on them.  Obviously, that’s what he did there at the end to me. I think he nailed it right once and that was all he needed to do.

“Hey, hat’s off to Ryan. It was a good clean race and that’s all you can ask for. Anytime you can get a top three in one of these STSS races it’s a good deal. Especially after the troubles we had at Cherokee.”

Maresca Gets Hard Earned Third Place Finish

Michael Maresca has always been fast at Port Royal Speedway, unfortunately for the driver out of Potsdam, N.Y., he has rarely made it to the checkered flag. Sunday at Port Royal, Maresca drove a strong race to pick up the podium finish.

“We usually run really good here, but never finish,” said a happy Maresca. “It felt really good to finish in the top three. We are happy with it.  It was the first early spring race. The track was slippery, but our car was very good. We did struggle in the heat race and made a lot of adjustments for the feature, and it paid off which is a good feeling knowing you did something right. We are pretty happy with our finish.”

Maresca was a solid third place runner, but he knew he lacked the speed to run with the top two.

“I didn’t have anything for the two cars ahead of us,” explained Maresca. “I was running very conservatively on the bottom. I am not sure if I moved up if it would’ve have helped me at all or not.  It might have, but that is in hindsight. I made most of my moves on the bottom and honestly was just waiting for those two to mess up, but we brought it home in one piece and will load it in the trailer and get it ready for the next race.”

With his third-place finish Sunday, Maresca is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the next STSS South series race at Delaware International Speedway at the end of April. With that in mind, Maresca will continue to follow the south series for the time being.

“With the finish we had tonight, we will definitely be at the next south series race at Delaware,” mentioned Maresca. “I like going to Delmar anyways so it will be nice knowing that we will most likely be in that race for sure. So that it what our plan is for now. I will probably go to the first north series race as well and if we do good just keep going. We will be at all the elite races and since I am not racing any tracks weekly, that will hopefully give us an opportunity to race more in these big races.”

Spring Speed Showcase Notes:

49 Modifieds signed in for the first STSS South Series race of the season after the previous two events were rained out. Mike Mahaney, Mike Gular, Danny Johnson, Ryan Godown and Stewart Friesen won the five heat races. Alex Yankowski and Duane Howard won the consi’s…

It was not a good feature race for the Halmar teams. Second place starter Jimmy Horton slowed early in the race with motor issues while running in the top five. Stewart Friesen was leading when he slowed under caution also with motor issues while Jessica Friesen pulled off late in the feature after being involved in a tangle…

Rough day for perennial STSS contender Billy Pauch Jr., who had to qualify through the consi. Starting 26th in the feature, Pauch was up into the top 10 when he suffered a flat tire due to contact with another car. Pauch was able to return to the race and finish 12th

Duane Howard made his 2022 debut driving the Butch Getz No. 15G. Howard qualified by winning the second consi but the team elected to start the feature in the back of the field due to no rear brakes that they didn’t have time to fix before the main event. Howard took some laps and pulled in to save the car…

Danny Johnson was the winner of his heat and ran steady in the feature to finish eighth…

Rough day for Dominick Buffalino and the Glenn Hyneman owned No. 126 team. The team had problems in their heat and was looking like it had a qualified spot in the consi until bad luck bit the team again resulting in a DNQ…

Multi-time STSS winner Andy Bachetti also had a bad day not qualifying for the feature… 

Kevin Hirthler joined  in the fun making his first start of the season at Port Royal. Kevin told me that the team purchased an LJL/Kevlar open small-block over the winter and the team plans to travel more to the STSS races. Hirthler qualified through his heat but was an early DNF in the feature…

Good run for Matt Stangle in the 40-lap feature. After having to take a provisional to make the starting field, Stangle was up to eighth at one point only to drop to tenth at the checkered flag…

Winner Ryan Godown has won over $30,000 so far in 2022 after only two STSS races…

Jared Umbenhauer had a nice top 10 run going in the feature until a flat tire forced him to the pits in the Clay Racing No. 88C. Umbenhauer did return for a 16th place finish…

The top five in STSS South Series points after one race are Ryan Godown, Mike Gular, Michael Maresca, Mat Williamson and Matt Sheppard. Next race for the STSS South series is Tuesday April 26th with the running of the Diamond State 50 at Delaware International Speedway…

If you have any questions or comments. I can be reached at dirtracefan25@hotmail.com or on Twitter @dirtracefan25.