Gierke a Rising Talent in Wissota Modified Ranks
Ryan Gierke of Westport, Minn., savored his first career win in July 2020, but it’s the second one of his career that stands out the most.
Gierke won in the Wissota Midwest Modifieds at KRA Speedway in July 2020; but he broke through for his first Wissota A Mod win on May 1 of this year at I-94 Sure Step Speedway. Some of the top-notch drivers he beat that night included Brady Gerdes, Dusty Bitzan, Tyler Peterson and Shane Sabraski
“I’m more proud of getting the win in (the A Mod),” Gierke said. “I was really happy about that one. I was waiting for someone to show their nose the whole time. I got lucky.”
Gierke, only 17, is a rising talent in the modified ranks. He is eighth in the Wissota Modified national points and is sixth in the Advantage RV Mod Tour points as well.
Gierke’s father, Bob, was a longtime Wissota Modified racer out of the Villard/Westport area. Bob Gierke died of a heart attack in Aug. 2017. On Friday, I-94 Sure Step Speedway will host the fourth annual Bob Gierke Memorial Race, which pays $2,626 to the winner (Bob raced the #26) of the Wissota Modifieds and $1,026 to the winner of the Wissota Modified feature.
“We used to just go racing all over,” Ryan Gierke said of his father. “We traveled quite a bit and we’d go all over. We’d do some USMTS (racing). It was a lot of fun.”
Ryan will be racing his #26G modified in that race on Friday, and perhaps it would be fitting if he found his way to victory lane in that race.
“That would be pretty cool,” Gierke said. “I’ll try. I’m sure there will be some good people there.”
Gierke is in his fourth year in racing. He started in the midwest modifieds in 2018 shortly after his older sister, Abby, started to race.
“Abby really got me into racing,” Gierke said. “The first year was kind of a struggle. I didn’t race as much my first year. We didn’t really get after it until my second year.”
He raced both a modified and midwest modified a year ago, traveling to many different tracks to race and this year has devoted his time to the Wissota Mods full time. And that seat time and experience have proved valuable.
“We’re learning while we go,” Gierke said.
He’s having quite a season in the modifieds. Since the season started up north on April 17 at Ogilvie,, Gierke has 18 top five finishes. That includes two top five finishes at the USMTS/Wissota Mod Wars at Ogilvie in July against a stacked field of cars.
“It’s been great, 10 times better last year,” Gierke said. “We can make it in the tech shed every other night it seems like. It’s been a lot of fun.”
He’d like to get to victory lane again before the season ends.
“Hopefully maybe get two more wins. I’ve been trying,” Gierke said. “It’s hard, racing against the good guys all the time. It really does help because it pushes your limits. You’re racing against the best of the best and you learn your stuff a lot better.”
Wissota Modified #26
Residence: Westport, Minn.
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