Story By: CHRIS MOORE / SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES – KUTZTOWN, PA – Action packed at Action Track.
The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco did what people said couldn’t be done.
The ground-pounding Modifieds tackled Action Track USA – one-fifth-mile bullring – on Tuesday night and Boyertown, Pa.’s Mike Gular was the man left standing at the conclusion of the ‘Berks County Brawl.’
The 50-lap feature event was slowed by just a single yellow flag.
Gular’s win netted him more than $5,000 for his efforts on the demanding confines of Action Track USA.
“I think that’s the most intense thing I’ve ever done,” Gular said in Bicknell Racing Products Victory Lane. “I didn’t know how good this place was gonna race, but it was pretty damn good.”
The event served as a non-point race for the Rent Equip/Party Central South Region. Regardless, the Action Track faithful packed the grandstands for the historic event.
“You don’t get a break here,” Gular said in front of the robust crowd. “I am gassed for sure.”
Gular started alongside East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV following the Beyea Custom Headers Redraw on the front row.
Hackel quickly fired to the lead, but got sideways in turns three and four, collecting Gular and allowing Pipersville, Pa.’s Danny Bouc to take the top spot. Gular would hold second and Hackel the final podium spot.
The top three paced the field until the race’s only yellow on lap nine. Otisville, N.Y.’s Corey Cormier had charged to fourth prior to the caution.
On the ensuing restart, Gular and Bouc traded the lead on three occasions, before Gular emerged with top spot.
Behind Gular, Cormier split the middle of Bouc and Hackel IV to climb into the runner-up spot and set his sights on Gular.
While Cormier chased Gular, Hackel and Bouc battled for the third spot, with Hackel eventually emerging with the position.
The race for the lead intensified at the Danny’s Pizza Pizzazz halfway mark. Gular bobbled in the third turn, allowing Cormier to get alongside him for the lead.
Gular shook off the first attempt. Cormier, however, was persistent.
Cormier threw a slide job at Gular coming to complete lap 28. Gular crossed him over and again thwarted Cormier’s advances. The next circuit, Cormier was successful.
Cormier had taken the lead away when the field completed lap 30, just in time to contend with the back of the 16-car field.
Gular put his short-track expertise to the test, racing around Cormier on lap 35 in the lap traffic and wrestling the lead away.
As things settled up front, with Gular pacing the field with lap cars ahead, Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Matt Stangle was having success where others weren’t.
Stangle was “catfishing” around the bottom of the speedway, driving by Ryan Krachun and Hackel into third.
Gular held off Cormier to the end with Stangle rounding out the top three.
“That was a lot of fun,” Cormier offered after his runner-up finish. “I haven’t had that much fun in a race in a long time.
“Lapped traffic is hard,” Cormier continued. “You just try to pick your spots and get through it as fast as you can… sometimes it just doesn’t fall your way.”
Stangle had much of the same to say.
“The track was great, it got really wide in the feature,” he explained. “At the end all of us up front were right together… it was a good race.”
Hackel brought his Godgart Motorsports No. 97 home fourth and Neshanic Station, N.J.’s Ryan Krachun rounded out the top five in his family-owned No. 29.
Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Frenchtown, N.J.’s Billy Pauch Jr. in his Kid Racing No. 15; Oley, Pa.’s Duane Howard in the Butch Getz-owned No. 15; Boyertown, Pa.’s Jeff Strunk in the Glenn and Bonita Hyneman No. 126; Danny Bouc in the Craig and Leslie Pondish owned BDR Speed No. 6; and Wind Gap, Pa.’s Frank Cozze in the No. 44.
Boyertown, Pa.’s Kevin Hirthler was victorious in the ‘B-Feature’ which rewarded him with a $1,000 payday.
Heat winners were Cozze, Gular, and Rick Laubach.
Racing continues for the STSS next Tuesday, August 8, at New Egypt (N.J.) Speedway for the ninth running of the ‘Dirty Jersey.’ Round No. 3 of the Rent Equip/Party Central South Region takes place with another 50-lap, $6,000-to-win feature on tap for the STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman join the program as well for Round No. 3 of the Belmont’s Garage South Region. The STSS Crate 602 Sportsman race for 25-laps and a $1,500 top prize.
Feature (50 Laps): 1. 2A-Mike Gular; 2. 26R-Corey Cormier; 3. 6S-Matt Stangle; 4. 97-Bobby Hackel IV; 5. 29-Ryan Krachun; 6. 15-Billy Pauch Jr; 7. 15G-Duane Howard; 8. 126-Jeff Strunk; 9. 6B-Danny Bouc; 10. 44-Frank Cozze Sr; 11. 4*-Brian Hirthler; 12. 9L-Jimmy Leiby; 13. 72-Ajay Potrzebowski II; 14. 20-Rick Laubach; 15. (DNF) 61-Justin Grim; 16. (DNF) 53-Geoff Quackenbush
Consolation (10 Laps): 1. 61-Justin Grim; 2. 4*-Brian Hirthler; 3. 9L-Jimmy Leiby; 4. 72-Ajay Potrzebowski II; 5. 7G-Brett Gilmore; 6. 117-Kevin Hirthler; 7. 555-Joel Smith; 8. 14RR-Joe Funk; 9. 88D-Meme Desantis; 10. 211-Nathan Horn
Heat 1 (10 Laps): 1. 44-Frank Cozze Sr; 2. 15-Billy Pauch Jr; 3. 26R-Corey Cormier; 4. 126-Jeff Strunk; 5. 4*-Brian Hirthler; 6. 7G-Brett Gilmore; 7. 88D-Meme Desantis; 8. 14RR-Joe Funk
Heat 2 (10 Laps): 1. 2A-Mike Gular; 2. 6S-Matt Stangle; 3. 6B-Danny Bouc; 4. 15G-Duane Howard; 5. 61-Justin Grim; 6. 117-Kevin Hirthler; 7. (DNF) 72-Ajay Potrzebowski II
Heat 3 (10 Laps): 1. 20-Rick Laubach; 2. 97-Bobby Hackel IV; 3. 29-Ryan Krachun; 4. 53-Geoff Quackenbush; 5. 555-Joel Smith; 6. 9L-Jimmy Leiby; 7. 211-Nathan Horn
B-Feature (12 Laps): 1. 117-Kevin Hirthler; 2. 14RR-Joe Funk; 3. 88D-Meme Desantis; 4. 7G-Brett Gilmore; 5. 211-Nathan Horn; 6. (DNF) 555-Joel Smith