By CODY MANMILLER
FREDERICK, PA – Mike Gular is ready for more in 2018.
After averaging less than 30 races per season over the last two years, Gular is slated to compete in both the Halmar International North and Velocita-USA South factions of the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled by Sunoco (STSS), in addition to his normal Saturday night plans at Grandview Speedway in Bechtelsville, Pa.
“This (traveling with the STSS) is something we definitely wanted to do,” Gular said. “It just never was an opportunity for us over the last couple of seasons.”
In 2017, the 34-year-old machinist had planned on competing in a variety of different races through a partnership with Jim Reid, but lost a motor in the season opener, limiting his schedule to Grandview, aboard the Rich Stankiewicz-owned No. 2. Meanwhile, Terry Fasnacht, a prominent car owner in the area, had cars ready as Danny Erb was recovering from health issues.
“Originally, the plan was just to run a couple Friday nights at Big Diamond (in Minersville, Pa.), and then Terry asked if there were any other races we wanted to run,” Gular explained. “So, we started to move around a little, and had some success.”
The turning point, Gular said, was at the STSS-sanctioned Short Track SuperNationals 10, at Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. The team scored a third-place finish, storming through the uber-competitive field for the pair’s best result together.
“That weekend really sealed the deal for this year,” Gular noted. “That result kind of showed Terry that we can do this, and it isn’t out of this world. We slapped together a program at the end of the year and were still competitive.”
This year, Fasnacht has provided Gular with a couple of Bicknell cars, his preferred chassis, along with multiple motor combinations to tackle the different styles of tracks on the STSS circuit.
The Short Track Super Series visits 13 different tracks in 17 sanctioned events in 2018. The diversity of facilities, along with the money involved, is what separated the STSS from other possibilities, in Gular’s mind.
“We looked into running Friday nights, but it turns into a grind, and doing the same thing gets old, and things get stale,” Gular said. “The point fund (with the STSS) is incredible, the payout is incredible, and this gives you a great chance to get a return on your money.
“Plus, seeing a different place is neat,” he said. “Sometimes you run out of ideas when things aren’t going well (running the same track), but when you travel you get to see more things, encounter more problems and find different solutions for those problems. All of that can help you at your Saturday night track.”
Gular cut his teeth on small, bullring-like racetracks, most notably at Grandview and Penn Can Speedway in Susquehanna, Pa. Those types of tracks on the STSS tour definitely appeal to him, but he’s looking forward to switching things up.
“I’m really excited to go everywhere,” Gular said. “Woodhull (N.Y.) looks awesome; Accord (N.Y.) is really tight, but it races really wide, and I’ve had success at Afton (N.Y.). But, I’ve never been to places like Orange County (N.Y.), so I don’t really know what to expect, or what it races like, but I’m interested to see how I can adapt.”
Gular will begin his season at the STSS opener, as part of Georgetown (Del.) Speedway’s Melvin L. Joseph Memorial weekend on March 16-17.
“We’ll be ready for both nights,” Gular explained.
“I can’t thank my crew, sponsors and family enough. We’ve been working really hard this winter, and we can’t do this without them putting up with us not being around.”
To learn more about the 2018 Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit www.shorttracksuperseries.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.
The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, Insinger Performance, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Halmar International, Allstar Performance, ATL Racing Fuel Cells, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, Beyea Custom Headers, Bicknell Racing Products, Dirt Track Digest, Fast Axle, Fox Racing Shocks, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, HyperCo, Kirkey Racing Fabrication, Land Hoe Maintenance, K&N, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, QA1, Race Pro Weekly, Racing Optics, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, Vahlco, Velocita, Weld & Wilwood.