Gular Continues Strong Start, Watt Rolling and More from Thunder on the Hill – DTD Exclusive


The Terry Fastnacht owned No. 2A team driven by Mike Gular has had a very good season so far in 2023. Gular has won at Delaware International Speedway, Grandview Speedway and at his Friday night home track of Big Diamond Speedway this season and has a multitude of top five finishes. 

Gular continued that strong season on Sunday night with a runner-up finish to winner Brian Hirthler in the Thunder on the Hill “Balls to the Wall” 50-lap feature. Gular started the race from eleventh and at the end of the first segment had worked his way up to the fifth spot which was one spot out of the invert. 

“I was working the outside and he was squeezing me out there and finally I was able to get alongside him,” said Gular while enjoying an adult beverage after the race. “I put the right front bumper to his rub rail to keep him up because he would slow down and pinch it back down. I did get into him, and he let off and came down across my nose, but I am friends with him and didn’t want to rough him up too much. Second still sucks, but we made some money and had a good hot rod.”

Gular’s No. 2A was fast from the drop of the green and he and Duane Howard put on a show for the fans as they raced hard and clean as the second segment was coming to a close. The two veterans battled hard, and Gular was finally able to sneak past Howard on the final turn to get by and win the second segment along with the $1,500 that came with it.

“He (Howard) took the top there and I was really good on the bottom,” he said.  “I figured I had enough clearance between the lapped car and him and that he wasn’t really gaining on him that much. So, I just picked the bottom again and I didn’t get him and got jammed up. I was going to start second anyways, but it worked out and it was some damn good racing.”

Track conditions were very good, and Gular made it a point to praise the track crew.

“The track was awesome tonight, Kenny (Rogers) and Brad (Missimer) did a good job giving us a track we could race on,” said Gular. “The track slicked up there at the end, but it didn’t rubber up. I could still put the car where I needed to and let her rip. We were one spot out of the invert after starting eleventh in 20 laps during the first segment. I thought we were fourth but didn’t realize that the leaders were up that far, but it all worked out.”

2022 was not the season Gular and Fastnacht had envisioned as the team struggled trying to run the complete Super DIRTcar series eventually dropping off the tour. Doing so affected the way the team ran at their bread and butter tracks but in 2023 the team has taken a less is more approach, racing much more locally and being prepared to race when they pull into the track and it has most certainly paid off. 

“This car has been a real hot rod all season,” commented Gular. “Ron Seltman of Fast Four Racing Shocks has this car dialed in and it is on point. I will tell you what, we are going to be hard to beat every time we come here to Grandview. We are really getting our car dialed in locally on the 358 motor tracks. At Big Diamond on Friday night, the motor we had in the car is the motor we have been running all year and it is the same motor we ran half a season with last year and has about 1500 laps on it.

“Friday night we had a good car, but just couldn’t go anywhere.  Even at Bridgeport on Thursday I thought the same thing, the car was good, but couldn’t go anywhere. We talked about it and decided to take Saturday night off and swap motors to put a fresh one in and boy it paid off. It shows a big difference when you put a fresh motor in and boy did we have a hotrod tonight. Morrison makes great motors and like I said, we put 1500 laps on the last one when most teams switch them out at 800 laps so that tells you how good his motors are.”

Logan Watt continues to impress at Grandview, wins his first TOTH Sportsman feature

14-year-old Logan Watt keeps showing maturity beyond his years. Sunday night in the running of the 25-lap Thunder on the Hill Crate 602 Sportsman feature, Watt started third and was quickly to second behind leader Brad Grim. Grim would constantly get ahead of Watt on the restarts during the middle portion of the race and each time Watt would start to run him down the yellow would appear again. Finally, Watt got what he needed with a long green flag run. 

On the last restart of the race, Grim did what he did on previous starts and put a few car lengths between himself and the second place running Watt. As the laps started to click off with no stoppages it was apparent that Watt was running Grim down and with under ten laps remaining had caught him. During the following laps Watt patiently worked the inside of Grim and with six laps to go made was able to get past Grim to now lead. From that point on Watt pulled away to win the race by a safe margin. For Watt it was his fourth win of the season and his second of the year at Grandview. Watt is also leading the way in points at both Grandview and Big Diamond Speedways.

“Tonight, I just had to be patient and wait,” said Watt while signing autographs at the team trailer after the race. “I knew running the top it was starting to get really edgy out there and then it started to go away so I changed my groove to the bottom and kept working and working it and then it started to take rubber like the last eight or nine laps and I was able to catch Grim. I think he started searching around to find something because when you are leading the leader doesn’t always know how far the guy behind him is and I was able to find the rubber before he did and then was able to get a good run on him and kept working him and working him and finally ended up getting by him.

Logan’s father Ryan Watt has won Thunder on the Hill shows during his career and this one was special for Logan to join his dad in doing so.

“It’s definitely special for me to win my first Thunder on the Hill show,” commented Watt. “This is my first year here running a full season and to win my first TOTH show is amazing and hopefully we can pull some more off down the road. We have a good season going so far and just hoping we can keep it going.”

Balls to the Wall notes:

There were a total of 35 Modifieds on hand on Sunday night with heat wins going to Jeff Strunk, Doug Manmiller and Duane Howard. Ryan Watt and Craig Von Dohren won the two consolation races…

Billy Pauch Jr., was impressive early on winning the first segment. The second segment saw Pauch finish out of the invert in fifth and at the end of 50-laps ended up in seventh place…

Duane Howard and the Butch Getz No. 15G team made their first appearance of the year at Grandview after switching their Saturday night home to Bridgeport this season. Howard was impressive all night winning his heat race after starting ninth and was a factor in each segment finishing second, second and third…

Louden Reimert was driving the Breitenstein No. 14 on Sunday night finishing in the 11th position…

Qualifying heat No. 2 for the Modifieds saw some slam banging action as multiple yellows slowed the actions…

Eric Kormann, recently hired to drive the Dennis and Chico Bailey No. 81, managed to stay out of all the issues in heat two to qualify. Kormann, who is just trying to get laps in at Grandview, unfortunately was a DNF when the officials told him over the one-way radio that the car was starting to show wisps of smoke…

The next Thunder on the Hill race will be on Tuesday June 13th when the USAC Amsoil Wingless Sprints make their annual visit for the Eastern Storm. The 358 modifieds will also be part of the show…

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