Gular Makes Statement, Big Diamond Notes – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

Mike Gular and his Terry Fasnacht owned No. 2A team had some impressive runs last season at Big Diamond Speedway in their infrequent appearances at the track. Looking for a Friday night home this season the team decided to call Big Diamond their home in 2020. The fact that the team could run for the American Racer Championship plus the fact that promoter Jake Smulley mandated that all cars must run on gasoline this season made the decision even easier.

All Gular has done at Big Diamond so far in 2020 is register two wins with only one finish outside of the top ten. That model of consistency has thrust Gular to the top of the Insigner Performance 358 Modifeds points race with only two more points paying races left on the schedule.

This past Friday at the speedway, Gular was on a mission right from the get-go. Gular charged from the final row in his heat race to finish in the top four to put himself into the handicapping for the feature. Starting 12th in the 25-lap main event, Gular left no doubt as to who was the driver to beat on the night as the Boyertown, Pa., driver was stomping the gas early as he marched his way to the front. Having a good start at Big Diamond is imperative with the quality of cars that you have to pass to get to the front.

“That’s the goal here, you have to have a good start to get ahead of guys like Craig (Von Dohren),” as Gular explained the key to his win tonight. “There are so many good drivers here and if you let them get out ahead with clear a track you are not chasing them down or you might but it’s going to be dam tough to do.”




By lap seven, Gular had already moved up to the seventh spot and four laps later was up to third. A caution slowed the action on lap 11 and racing resumed it took Gular only two laps to get to second. After another restart on lap 14, Gular was all over leader Jared Umbenhauer for the top spot. Gular kept the pressure on Umbenhauer and on lap 17 was the new leader. Once in front Gular had to survive two more restarts but handled them with ease as he streaked across the line for the $3000 win.

“We needed a good run, we’ve had a bad couple of weeks,” said a happy Gular while the No. 2A was going through post-race tech. “We had bad luck down at Delaware on Tuesday and bad luck at Grandview last week. We were running well in both of them but just weren’t able to finish either of them and when that happens you start to question yourself on what the heck you are doing. I’m definitely glad we had a good run; we really needed a morale booster. I mean, listen we haven’t had a bad season by no means but it’s nice to cap off a night with a win instead of seconds and thirds.”

The Fanascht team decided on this Friday to bring a different car to the track than what they had won with earlier in the season and it seemed like that decision paid off for the team.

“We just are trying everything we got right now,” said Gular as he explained the team’s decision. “We are trying to get better for the bigger money races at the end of year. I want to win the Coalcracker and the 76er and we’re throwing everything we got at it right now and some weeks it’s a struggle because we don’t have the best combination whether it be the suspension, bars or coils or whatever but were bouncing ideas around trying to figure stuff out for when it counts. Not that these races don’t count now because these are good races, but if you get a win like the 76er or the Coalcracker, that big money out weights all of it.”

Umbenhauer Back on Track

Opening night winner Jared Umbenhauer was looking ahead to a great season at Big Diamond after winning on opening night. The “Richland Rocket” was all smiles after holding off his good friend and mentor Craig Von Dohren to take the popular win. Unfortunately, things soured only a few weeks later for the team when Umbenhauer flipped the No. 1H down the front stretch destroying the car. It took a couple of weeks for the team to put a new car together and since their return, things have not been going as well as the team would have liked.

This past Friday night, Umbenhauer looked like the driver from opening night in leading some laps and ultimately coming home with a second-place finish. It was a run the team needed.

“This was the best I’ve been since we wrecked here and brought the new car out,” said  Umbenhauer. “We just didn’t have enough for Mike (Gular), he was pretty stout tonight. We had a second-place car and we finished second, so we’ll take it. It felt good to be back out front leading some laps that’s for sure. I had a couple of shots at him on those late restarts, but he was able to pull me at the end of the straightaways. I’m not sure what motor he had, but it was sure a good piece.”

Big Diamond Bits

28 Modifieds signed in for action on Friday with Kevin Graver Jr, Duane Howard & Jordan Henn winning the three heats. Cory Merkel was the consi winner…

Alan Barker returned to Big Diamond once again this Friday and is looking better and better each time out…

Dillon Steuer made his Big Diamond debut on Friday night behind the wheel of the Zubi’s Racing No. 17Z. After being involved in a wreck on the first lap of his heat race, Steuer was able to qualify in the consi. In the feature, the young driver looked more and more comfortable as the race went along and despite having to pit for a flat tire during the race was able to come back and record an eleventh-place finish. Look for this combination to return in the coming weeks…

Alex Yankowski, who had won the previous two weeks found himself having to qualify through the consolation race Friday night after having a right rear tire explode on the last lap in his heat race while racing in a qualified spot. Despite having to start 22nd, Yankowski ended up with a strong sixth place finish in the feature…

A heat race incident saw Craig Von Dohren get the front end of his No. 88X high up into the air after hitting a yuke tire in turn three causing the red to come out. Miraculously Von Dohren was able to drive the car away from the scene and after some quick pit work from his crew was able to come back out and qualify…

Ray Swinehart looked strong early in the feature while leading. Unfortunately for Swinehart something broke on the rear suspension of his No. 33 resulting in a DNF…

Jeff Strunk was strong once again in the Butch Getz No. 15S and was looking at the worst a top five finish until getting a flat going into turn one on the last lap. That flat tire would cause a shift in the race for the points title…

Speaking of the points race. It has been a seesaw battle all season between Mike Gular, Jeff Strunk and Craig Von Dohren with each driver taking a turn atop the standings. After winning on Friday night, it is Gular’s turn at the top followed closely by Von Dohren and Strunk with Alex Yankowski lurking in the fourth spot…

This Friday night at Big Diamond will be the annual “Prelude to the Coalcracker” for the Insigner Performance modifieds who will race for 40-laps paying $4000 to the winner. Look for the possibility of a couple of outsiders making the tow to the speedway looking to get in a tune-up for the big “Coalcraker 72” on Sunday, September 6th which will pay $17,000 to the winner…

The remaining races this season at Big Diamond will all be broadcast via Pay-Per-View on dirttrackdigest.tv…

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