Mike Gular Visits Big Diamond Victory Lane On Friday Night Over Kressley & Renninger
Story By: BIG DIAMOND SPEEDWAY – MINERSVILLE, PA – It was another picture-perfect April night for racing in God’s Country on Friday night and the action on the track lived up to the weather with 2020 Big Diamond track champion Mike Gular returning to victory lane in the Quandel Concrete Modifieds.
It was Gular’s first win at the track since winning the title back in 2020. Jordan Henn took advantage of Paulie Hartwig III’s misfortune to capture the win in the USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman feature and Kris Ney found victory lane in the Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners. Brennan Chapman was the Big Creek Concrete Rookie winner and Kenny Harris III was the winner of the 600 Xcel Modified main event.
Wayne Witmer and Corey Rennniger were set to lead the Quandel Modifieds to the green flag but with Witmer electing to start in the rear that moved Shawn Light up to the front row alongside Renninger. As the green flag flew it was Renninger taking the top spot with Justin Grim advancing from third to the runner up spot. The early laps saw Nick Rochinski and Mike Gular also on the move early to run in third and fourth. The first yellow of the race came out on lap six when the No. T102 of Tim Fitzpatrick rolled to a stop in turn four.
Renninger continued to lead on the restart with Gular making a strong move to take over the second spot. Gular’s move was all for nought as Kevin Beach Jr slowed with a flat tire in turn two to negate the lap. Back to racing and Renninger continued his strong run out front with Rochinski getting by Grim for second with Brett Kressley now getting into the mix and past Grim and Gular into third. Kressley was on the move and made a bold outside move on lap 12 to get past both Renninger and Rochinski to take the lead. Unfortunately, before the lap could be scored last week’s MITM winner Duane Howard spun in turn two to bring out the yellow making Kressley’s move all for nothing with Renninger and Rochinski still first and second. The top five with 13 laps to go are Renninger, Rochinski, Kressley, Gular and Jeff Strunk.
The restart saw Renninger vault back to the lead as Rochinski was left to hold off the challenges of Kressley and Gular for the second. Lap 15 saw Kressley muscle his way past Rochinski on the inside coming out of turn four to take second away with Gular following suit to move to third. Kressley reeled in the leader Renninger with Gular also in hot pursuit. Lap 19 saw Kressley try the outside in turns one and two, but Renninger continued to stay upfront. Coming off of turn four to complete lap 20, it was Renninger with Kressley and Gular side by side right on his bumper. This time it was Gular using the extreme outside through turns one and two to sneak around Kressley. Gular continued his momentum up on the topside to race Renninger down the backstretch and surge ahead as they went into turn three.
Renninger drifted his No. 5C in the middle of the turn allowing Kressley to get by dropping him to third as Gular tried to put some distance between himself and Kressley. Kressley tried every trick he had to get past Gular but the Boyertown PA driver was not about to give up the lead. Kressley made a last-ditch effort on the inside coming out of turn four but just didn’t have enough to pass Gular who crossed the finish line to take the win. Kressley, Renninger, Rochinski and Strunk rounded out the top five.
“We tore this car pretty good last week and worked our asses off this week to get it all back together and it feels good to come out tonight and get it done,” said a happy Gular in victory lane. “Especially racing with the No. 19K car there and the No. 5C car, he was really running good tonight. Great track tonight, Jake, it was two lanes and it slowed down a little bit which made it good for racing. I changed up my line a little bit on how I was entering (the turns) and was able to get back to them. I saw him (Kressley) battling with the No. 5 car there and figured this was my chance to go back to the top and make something happen and it paid off. I want to thank my owner Terry Fastnacht, Conestoga Kitchens, Fast Four shocks, Penske Shocks, Weaknecht Archery, Xtreme Mechanical and my crew. It feels great to be running good this year, this is a helluva start to our season and keeps us grinding in the shop and all worthwhile.”
The USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman race saw Matt Yoder lead lap one. Seventh place starter Paulie Hartwig III quickly worked his way towards the front and took the lead on a lap three restart. Hartwig pulled away from the field as Jordan Henn, Danny Buccafusca and Brandon Edgar made their way towards the front. A yellow slowed the action but when the green flag came back out, it was Hartwig leading and pulling away as Henn, Buccafusca and Edgar all tried to stay with the teenager. These three would have their own battle within the top five as Hartwig added to his big lead. Hartwig took the white flag when disaster struck the young driver as he tried to get under a lapped car through turn one. Hartwig made contact with the lapped car which caused his front end to break, ending his dominating run and bringing out the yellow. Henn was now the leader with one lap to go. Henn was able to hold off Buccafusca for the win with Edgar holding off a late race charge by Logan Watt for third. Watt had to settle for fourth with Nick Desantis scoring in fifth.
In the Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Rookie feature it was Brennan Chapman taking the lead away from Brady Shea with only a couple of laps remaining to take the win over Jax Yohn and Brady Shea.
The Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners saw Kris Ney take the early lead with Chuck Fayash making his move. Ney was able to hold off Fayash to go on and lead the rest of the way to take the win. Fayash finished second for the third consecutive week. TJ Fitzpatrick, Jesse Krasnitsky and Todd Roth Jr were in the top five.
In the Xcel 600 Modified feature it was Kenny Harris III taking the lead from his outside pole starting spot to lead all 20 laps holding off a determined Richie Hitzler for the win in their 20-lap main event. Tyler Bartik, Geoffrey Sutton and Bryce Smith completed the top five.
Full Results from Friday, April 21st:
Quandel Concrete Modifieds: 1. Mike Gular 2. Brett Kressley 3. Corey Renninger 4. Nick Rochinski 5. Jeff Strunk 6. Louden Reimert 7. Rick Laubach 8. Mike Lisowski 9. Craig Von Dohren 10. Ryan Watt 11. Justin Grim 12. Scott Albert 13. Ken Eckert Jr 14. Bobby Trapper Sr 15. Ray Swinehart 16. Craig Whitmoyer 17. Dave Dissinger 18. Dave Shirk 19. Duane Howard 20. Kevin Beach Jr 21. Wayne Witmer 22. Heath Metzger 23. Shawn Light 24. Tim Fitzpatrick
Did Not Qualify: Aleia Geisler, Doug Smith Jr, Bryan Rhoads, Hunger Metzger and Frank Cozze
Modified Heat Winners: Brett Kressley, Wayne Witmer & Corey Renninger
Modified Consi Winner: Heath Metzger
Penske Shocks Gift Certificate Winners: Mike Gular ($100), Brett Kressley ($75) & Corey Renninger ($50)
The Big Diamond Dog Pound Hard Luck Award: Frank Cozze ($200)
USS Achey Crate 602 Sportsman: 1. Jordan Henn 2. Danny Buccafusca 3. Brandon Edgar 4. Logan Watt 5. Nick Desantis 6. Matt Yoder 7. Mike Schneck Jr 8. Talan Carter 9. Mike Loney 10. Xavier Sprague 11. Nathan Mohr 12. Brandon Oleski 13. Kevin Olenick 14. Matt Martino 15. Brandon Firestine 16. Justin Lilick 17. Troy Conrad 18. Mark Gaugler 19. Paulie Hartwig III 20. Shon Elk 21. Marty Shappell 22. Zach Steffey 23. Tyler Vidal 24. Dirk Rimrott
Sportsman Heat Winners: Paulie Hartwig III, Danny Buccafusca & Matt Yoder
Penske Shocks Gift Certificate Winners: Jordan Henn ($100), Danny Buccafusca ($75) & Brandon Edgar ($50)
The Big Diamond Dog Pound Hard Luck Award: Paulie Hartwig III ($100)
Big Creek Concrete Crate 602 Rookies: 1. Brennan Chapman 2. Jax Yohn 3. Brady Shea 4. Alex Bartorillo 5. Danica Getz 6. McKenzi Smith 7. Matt Fidler 8. Bryce Bashore
The Big Diamond Dog Pound Hard Luck Award: Bryce Bashore ($50)
Red White and Blue Autos Roadrunners: 1. Kris Ney 2. Chuck Fayash 3. TJ Fitzpatrick 4. Jesse Krasnitsky 5. Tod Roth Jr 6. Joey Brennan 7. Jim Kost 8. Terry Kramer 9. CJ Ferguson 10. Dave Schultz
Roadrunner Heat Winner: Jim Kost
The Big Diamond Dog Pound Hard Luck Award: Joey Brennan ($50)
Xcell 600 Modifieds: 1. Kenny Harris III 2. Richie Hitzler 3. Tyler Bartik 4. Geoffrey Sutton 5. Bryce Smith 6. Doug Newbigging 7. Tiffany Hitzler-Mays 8. Dylan Cordier 9. Mark Bressler 10. Tommy Martocci 11. Ray Gradwell 12. Christian Smith 13. Darryle Baer 14. Tyler Froning 15. Brandon Kulp 16. Ryley Garman 17. Brayden Plunkert 18. Robbie Swavely 19. Korey Inglin 20. Josh Ohlinger 21. Steve Sterner DNS Logan Knauss
Xcell 600 Heat Winners: Kenny Harris III & Tyler Bartik