If there has been a driver who’s been one of the top dogs in the Wissota Midwest Modified class in western Minnesota over the past two decades, it may be Brock Gronwold.
The Fergus Falls driver has a Wissota national championship (2007), nine track championships and more than 150 feature wins in a career that has spanned nearly 20 years.
This season, if you include his racing down south in Arizona and New Mexico in January, Gronwold has eight wins. Since the season started up north in May he has six Wissota wins.
“My biggest attribute would have to be determination — to know what it takes along with sacrifices that have to be made and willpower to never give up no matter what if you want something bad enough,” Gronwold said. “The key to a good start is being ready for a good start. I believe you can help create your own luck in many ways.”
Gronwold will be one of the top contenders at the third annual Bob Gierke Memorial on Friday at I-94 Sure Step Speedway in Fergus Falls. The event pays $1,026 to the winner of the midwest modified feature.
The Fergus Falls, Minn., resident has also raced modifieds and late models, and even has driven super stocks and street stocks owned by others. In 2009, he won a Legends feature at Buffalo River Race Park near Glyndon.
But it’s in the midwest modifieds where Gronwold, who owns and operates On-Site Wash and Drain Cleaning, has made a name for himself, including winning the 2007 Wissota Midwest Modified national title.
By running in Wissota’s most populous class, he has a lot of options to race within a reasonable travel distance of his hometown of Fergus Falls.
“That’s the big thing —from Fergus I can race four nights a week in any direction within an hour and a half,” Gronwold said.
Gronwold grew up around racing, as his cousins raced cars. He started in the Midwest Modifieds at age 15 after previously racing snowmobiles and dirt bikes.
“I didn’t even have my license yet,” Gronwold said. “After I got hurt on dirt bikes the last time, I got out of the hospital and my bikes were sold. So I bought a race car.”
Gronwold won the Wissota Midwest Modified national championship in 2007. That year, he ran 84 Wissota shows, and the schedule and travel became a grind, and says because of the time and work needed, he likely won’t pursue a national title that way again.
“If I didn’t like doing it I would never have done it. It was definitely fun,” Gronwold said. “There’s a lot of nights that I was dreading going, and maybe should’ve just stayed home. A clean sweep was worth 57 (points) and I was throwing 56s. If you didn’t win your heat you might as well go home. That’s tough; it really makes it not as fun.”
After that grueling year, he changed his racing schedule.
“I got smarter and ran specials and didn’t worry about weekly shows. I tried to make it fun again,” Gronwold said.
He unveiled a new wrap recently showing support of President Donald Trump.
“This is more I’m sponsoring Donald Trump,” Gronwold said.
HIs plans this year are to race weekly at I-94 and some specials in the region.
After two decades, Gronwold still enjoys his time at the track.
“A lot of good people and lot of fun,” Gronwold said. “Any time I stay home and think I’m going to do something as fun or funner, I’m bored within an hour and a half. I’m always at the racetrack any way, I might as well have a car.”
Wissota Midwest Modified #2G
Residence: Fergus Falls, Minn.
Sponsors: Shaw Trucking, On-Site Wash and Drain Cleaning, Holt Ranch, Pipe Detectives, American National Bank, Tysdal Seed, Country Cat, Little Chief Outpost, Sure Step, Bangsund Contruction, Tainted Industries, Amsoil, Premier Electric, Northern Metal Recycling, Laske Fabricating