Column By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – HUMBOLDT, KS – Gordy Gundaker knew his first season with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models would be a learning curve. And as the season enters its final six races of 2022, one lesson has stood out—consistency.
It’s a lesson the St. Charles, MO driver hopes to build off as the Series makes its final Midwest swing of the season, with stops at Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, KS, on Friday, Oct. 21, 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS on Saturday, Oct. 22, and US 36 Speedway in Osborn, MO on Sunday, Oct. 23.
“I’ve kind of struggled with that, whether it’s been bad luck or just things we’ve done to kind of kick ourselves,” Gundakersaid. “It’s been a bit of a learning curve, and I think it’s just something as the year’s gone on, and as you race nationally, you just kind of find a way around those things.
“Just finding ways to get better consistently is something I’ve really learned, and we’ve done a better job here recently.”
While he’s trying to stay consistent and build on his three top-fives and seven top 10s, he also has a leg up on his competition entering the Midwest tripleheader. Gundaker and Ryan Gustinare the only two full-time drivers who’ve made stops at 81 Speedway this season.
“Earlier in the year, I ran 81 (Speedway) and ran second there,” Gundaker said. “That, to me, is a confidence booster just in itself going to a place I know. We’ve been working hard the last couple of weeks doing some testing, and I’ve been on the phone with some guys and found a few things that we’ve been doing incorrect.
“So, I think we have everything squared away now, so I really got some confidence heading into the three-day swing.”
Gundaker hopes to use that confidence boost as an advantage as he pushes toward his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Models win.
“Anytime you can have a notebook of races you’ve been to already, and nobody else has, it’s obviously an advantage,” Gundaker said. “You go there knowing some things you did right and knowing some things you did wrong, where some guys are unloading fresh and don’t really know.
“So, yeah, it’s a big deal for us, and it gives us a confidence booster heading into the weekend.”
Even though Gundaker’s first run at a national tour is uncharted territory, he didn’t do it alone. On many occasions, his 19-year-old brother Trevor joined him—most recently during the Quad Cities 150 at Davenport Speedway.
The elder Gundaker stated it’s something he wishes he could’ve done when he was Trevor’s age.
“It’s awesome getting to run up and down the road with my little brother,” Gundaker said. “Obviously, this is something we both love doing and have a major passion for and getting to do it together is neat. Getting to travel to some of the new places together and do things makes it even better.
“Especially because at his age, I wasn’t really getting to travel quite like that, and I really didn’t for a while. Getting him the experience earlier in his career is going to be better for him.”
Racing with his brother on a national stage isn’t the only experience he’ll get to enjoy this season, as Gundaker prepares to compete in his first World of Outlaws World Finals, Nov. 2-5,at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
He’s looking forward to the atmosphere of racing on one of the biggest stages in motorsports.
“It’s awesome,” Gundaker said. “I’ve been to the World Finals a few times. I haven’t raced it. But I’ve been there as a spectator, and it’s a hell of an event. They do a great job with the atmosphere. Bringing the people there. And the fact that you have three major Series under the same roof for a weekend there in front of all those people.
“It’s going to be a tough weekend, but it’s definitely going to be a lot of fun.”
Gundaker hopes his lessons in consistency propel him to the top of the mountain in one of the final six races of his World of Outlaws rookie season and into his first trip to Victory Lane.
The Most Powerful Late Models on the Planet kick off the Midwest weekend with a trip to Humboldt Speedway in Humboldt, KS, on Friday, Oct. 21, before a stop at 81 Speedway in Wichita, KS, on Saturday, Oct. 22. Then, the weekend finishes with a return to the “Show-Me” state for a battle at US 36 Speedway in Osborn, MO on Sunday, Oct. 23.