Gordy Gundaker faced many ups and downs during his rookie season with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Model Series. However, his final upswing of the 2022 season led to a confidence boost that has him eyeing more success as he prepares for his second season on tour.
The St. Charles, MO driver, finished seventh in the Series standings, scoring four top-fives and 10 top-10s—three of them coming in the final six races of 2022 during the October Kansas-Missouri swing.
While he hoped he’d have better finishes throughout the season, Gundaker said he knew there would be a learning curve with running on a national tour.
“It’s kind of how I was hoping our whole year would go,” Gundaker said. “But that’s part of learning and being out on the road with those guys. It wasn’t always going to go as planned, so it was nice to end the year on a high note and know we’re competitive and can always be upfront with all those guys.”
The next time Gundaker hits the track in his #11 car is the 2023 Series opener during Sunshine Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park on Jan. 19-21.
He’s hoping that momentum from the end of the season will lead to a successful 2023 start at The World’s Fastest Half-mile.
“I think it’s going to be a big confidence booster going into Volusia,” Gundaker said. “Obviously, the first few weekends there and in March, knowing we’ve got good race cars, and the right equipment and everything we need to succeed, we just need to go out there and perform.
“By the end of the year, we really worked on our stuff. We worked with Jason Durham, (Stormy Scott’s Crew Chief), and him coming back to Penske’s (shocks) is big for me, our team, and Longhorn (Chassis) in general.”
Gundaker won’t be the only Longhorn on tour in 2023, as both Nick Hoffman and Payton Freeman released their plans to run with the World of Outlaws CASE Late Models next season, along with a returning Tanner English.
Hoffman and Gundaker already have a close bond as the two have been friends for years. Their friendship will be a key benefit for Gundaker, having someone to share information with during the 11-month season grind.
“Nick is one of my best friends, and we’ve been best friends for a really long time,” Gundaker said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun just going up and down the road and hanging out, but obviously, it’ll be beneficial for both of us.
“We’re going to be in Longhorn cars and be able to share information and work off each other and feed off each other.”
That information will only help the 30-year-old driver, who admits he’s still learning the ropes of the different types of tracks the Series races on—especially on half-miles.
Before last season, Gundaker’s experience on those tracks was minimal. But he said he’s starting to get a better grip on how to be successful.
“I think the track time is going to be massive, and also a bunch of the half-miles I got to go to that I haven’t really raced on,” Gundaker said. “I only really raced on half-miles five or 10 times throughout my career before last year, so now I doubled that. By the time I got to Charlotte, I understood a lot more about the air and how you need to race those places aggressive at times, and others not so aggressive.
“The more I get on those, the better I get. I think by the time we get to Volusia and Sunshine Nationals; we’re going to open some eyes.”
Gundaker hopes his knowledge and experience will continue him on a forward path, no matter the ups and downs he’ll face during the 53-race schedule.
The World of Outlaws CASE Late Models kick off their 2023 season at Volusia Speedway Park for a Late Model Palooza during Sunshine Nationals on Jan. 19-21, also featuring 602 Late Models and DIRTcar Pro Late Models.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.