Gular A Champ, Lisowski Scores First Friday at Big Diamond – DTD Exclusive

By KEN BRUCE

Mike Gular and his Terry Fanascht owned Conestoga Family Kitchens sponsored No. 2A team had a goal coming into the 2020 season after committing to running at Big Diamond weekly. That goal was to win as many races as possible, and more importantly, win the 2020 track championship. Gular ended up winning two races over the course of the season while being a model of consistency each week. Very rarely did Gular finish out of the top five and he had only one DNF all season.  That was only because of a flat tire with two laps to go that the team couldn’t change in time. Even though Gular’s finish on Friday night was not the one he wanted to end the season on, he did get manage to get the job done.

“We were way to tight tonight, and I knew after the heat we were way too tight, and I guess I thought the track was going to come to us,” Gular explained. “But I guess racing as early as we did tonight it didn’t come around to us too good. We knew we just had to finish well, we had a little bit of a run there up to fourth and then I got off the ground a little bit.  After that I figured we should probably just take it easy here. I knew where Jeff (Strunk) was running so I just had to keep an eye on him, and I knew we would be alright.”

In 2019 Gular had some very good runs in his limited appearances at Big Diamond and after the season, the team knew it had found a place to race on Friday nights.

“This was the goal since last season when we decided to race here, we wanted to win a championship,” mentioned a happy Gular. “It feels good to win it in our first season here and we beat some stout competition to get it done. I know Craig (Von Dohren) wasn’t here tonight, but we did have a decent lead on him going into tonight. I am not sure what is going on with Craig, but I really hope he is okay.




“To beat Craig, Jeff and Duane (Howard) and everybody that races here is a great accomplishment for our team. The competition is very tough here and just look how tonight went, we were a little bit off and we finished seventh, that’s how good everyone here is, you have to be on your game every night. All-in-all, we had a very good season here and we will most probably be back here next season. You know, I have never defended a title so hopefully we can do that here next year.”

Anytime a driver wins a championship, it is a total team effort and Gular made sure to mention that this couldn’t have been possible without his crew.

“This is great not only for me but for the guys as well, like I said in victory lane championships are won in the shop with maintenance and preparation. You have to go through the whole car and make sure there isn’t anything that can fall off or is broke. You have to race smart as well to win a championship, but really this was won in the shop. I have to thank Nick Gatto (engines), Pat Morrison (engines) and Bicknell race cars for giving us everything we needed this year to win the championship. This season has been probably the best season I have every had and if not, definitely the best season I have had in a while.

“It feels to good to be competitive not only here, but everywhere we’ve gone this year. We have a great group of guys here who all get along and everyone puts their time in and everyone works around work schedules and family stuff. My mother in-law and father in-law supply us with the shop and they put up with a lot of stuff because anytime you have a race car at your house it’s a nightmare and I have to thank them for everything they do for us.”

Gular went on to talk about what it is like to have the support of a great car owner behind you like he does with Terry Fanascht.

“I can’t thank Terry enough for what he does for us,” mentioned Gular.  “I mean he gives us the best of everything, there is no junk anywhere in our shop. He gives us top shelf stuff to work with just like all the top guys do, but he tries hard to think ahead and give us exactly what we need. Sometimes I don’t think we need what we get, but he ends up right most all of the time. I really didn’t want this car, but he wanted it and he got it and I am glad he did. It is a pretty dam good car.

“This is Terry’s thing, some guys like sport cars, some guys like boats or to play golf and Terry likes race cars. I drove for him years ago and his health wasn’t good, and he got out for a while. He wanted to get back in it and get serious with it, so we did a little traveling, and we did well with that so now it’s just spiraled into this. I didn’t expect it to ever spiral into the amount of racing we are doing but I am not complaining, this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ve worked my whole life to be able to race like this and I’ve never had the owner, the equipment and the group of guys to do it before. It takes a small army to race like this and I am lucky enough to have that going for me right now.”

Gular went on to thank his wife and family.

“I also couldn’t do any of this without the support of my wife Lauren and the kids at home for putting up with the week in and week out racing, getting home late and seeing them in the morning for a little bit. My wife calls it the “Hotel Gular” because I get home and go to sleep then get up in the morning put on clean clothes for work and out the door I go. I usually get a text from her around 8:00 every night that your dinner is in the microwave so she puts up with a lot and I can’t thank her enough. It’s a total group deal with everyone involved and it makes me look good but it’s not just about me. This championship is for everyone involved that make this all work.”

Mike Lisowski Wins First Career Modified Feature

The 2020 season to date has been a season that long-time campaigner Mike Lisowski would like to forget, like many of us would. Lisowski has struggled with engines issues this season and had even contemplated taking the balance of the season off to start preparations for 2021.  A change of heart along with an available motor gave the personable young driver a chance to finish out the season. The decision was a good one for the team as Lisowski was able to win his first ever Modified feature of his career on Friday night at the Big Diamond Speedway.

“I don’t know what to say, we have had so many motor issues this year that it was hard to get going,” said a happy and victorious Lisowski talking in his hauler afterwards. “This DKM car has been good all year, it really has been. Eric, Dave and Kyle at DKM have been great to work with and have been a great help to me and I am so glad I was able to put it in victory lane for those guys. They’ve been down on themselves lately so it feels great to get them a win.

“Like I said, the cars been good, but we just had so many motor issues it just took away from our season. We had to miss a couple of weeks at Grandview and a couple of weeks here.  We had to borrow a couple of motors and I actually have to thank Craig (Whitmoyer) for letting us borrow a motor off of him for a couple of weeks to get me through and it sucks that Craig had problems tonight because he had a great car and probably deserved to win. It was fortunate for us and unfortunate for him, but we’ve been on the other of those too sometimes.”

The Lisowski’s are a family run team that work very hard to field a Modified for Mike. Their cars are always immaculate, and you can just tell the pride they have in their cars.  Winning an extra cash race like they did Friday meant a lot to both the driver and the team.

“This is a family run deal, and I can’t thank my parents enough,” cited a proud Lisowski. “My mom washes the car every Saturday and Sunday and between me and my dad we work in the garage some nights to two or three in the morning. This year has been extremely tough between switching cars, switching motors it’s really made for some late nights and then having to work full-time on top of that makes for a rough week. It’s even worse when you are running bad and you start thinking why are we even doing this anymore because we are struggling every weekend, but this is why we do it, to get that one good run and win and man does that change everything around.”

Big Diamond Bits

There were 25 Modifieds on hand last Friday night with heat race wins going to Dillon Steuer, Craig Whitmoyer and Mike Gular…

Heartbreak for the “Hook” Craig Whitmoyer as he had the field covered Friday night leading coming to the white flag when an electrical issue cropped up causing him to slow allowing the front runners to go by. Whitmoyer did recover to finish the race…

Young Dillon Steuer aboard the Zubi’s Racing No. 17Z just keeps looking stronger each week. Steuer was a rocket in his heat race winning going away and was prepped for a good feature run. Unfortunately, something broke on lap one of the feature resulting in a DNF…

Duane Howard’s hard luck at Big Diamond in 2020 continued on Friday night when the Norm’s Save Station No. 357 made contact early in the race with Alex Yankowski causing something in the driveline to break…

Former Big Diamond weekly competitor Ryan Krachun was on hand Friday night and looked strong in grabbing a top five finish in the feature event…

Kris Graver in the No 101 saw his night end early when motor issues developed in warmups causing the team to be done for the night…

Nice to see Ryan Grim back in action at Big Diamond on Friday night. Grim’s night ended with a ninth-place finish…

Bobby Gunther-Walsh was back on Friday night. This was Gunther-Walsh’s first appearance at the track since the big crash he was involved in last year…

Due to work commitment and time restraints I did not have a chance to write my weekly Big Diamond story last week and I would like to congratulate Alan Barker on his big win last Friday night Sept. 25th

Do not forget, this week at Big Diamond Speedway is the return of the Diamond Nationals with two nights of action at the Big Diamond Speedway. Friday night Oct 9th will be the 358 Modifieds (gas or methanol) along with USAC Wingless Sprints who will run Twin 20 lap feature races. Also, on the card for Friday night will be the Limited Late Models and the Street Stocks. Saturday night Oct. 10th will find the Modifieds running a 40-lap $5,000 to win feature. The modifieds will be running under the rules of the STSS South Series (no sail panels). Both the Open Sportsman and the Crate 602 Sportsman will race in 20-lap main events and closing out the nights schedule will be the Roadrunners who will race in four 8-lap main events…

If you cannot make it to Big Diamond Speedway this weekend, you can still watch all the action 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