There is a story behind the number 1 (dash) 2 on Bryce Sward’s race cars.
His grandfather, Jerry Geris, raced that number back decades earlier. Geris was inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame in 2001 as part of the inaugural class and was a track champion at the 1/2-mile oval.
“He kinda started Viking Speedway,” said Sward, who lives in Nelson, Minn. “When he raced his number was actually 12. He had a major sponsor that sponsored the car; he said if there’s another 12, just put a dash between the 1 and the 2. There was another 12, he put the dash in there and so that’s how it’s been.”
Sward, only 15, is in his second year in a Limited Late Model, which he races primarily at Viking Speedway, and in his first year in a full-fledged Wissota Late Model, which is runs at I-94 Speedway in Fergus Falls. He raced in go-karts for several years, and knew what exactly number he wanted on his kart. Geris, by the way, sits in the stands and watches his grandson race at both I-94 and Viking.
“It’s pretty special,” Sward said. “I started racing go-karts, so I asked him if I could use his number. He said you can, but the only thing you have to do is keep it out in the front. I said, ‘I’ll try.’”
And he’s happy to keep the family racing number 1-2 alive.
Like many drivers, Sward got his start in the go-karts. But numbers were dwindling in his division, and he wasn’t quite old enough to move into the adult division. So the call was made to jump into the limited late model in 2018 — at the age of 14. He is running a Crate engine in the Limited Late Model.
Needless to say, moving from the kart to the limited late model was an eye opening experience for Sward, who will be a sophomore at Osakis High School this fall.
“The first time I was in the limited, I was out there and I was super nervous,” Sward said. “I didn’t know what to expect. Once I got in there, and we got going, I didn’t understand how much power it had. I was laying on the one side of the seat.”
Sward is fourth in the limited late model point standings at Viking and is second with two wins at the track. He has seven top five finishes in eight nights of racing at the track.
Sward has raced the Wissota Late Model five times this season, including three times at I-94.
“Mostly (I want to) just get some seat time, and figure how out everything works,” Sward said.
He had a solid finish of sixth on June 28. At Viking Speedway on July 13, during the Bob Gierke Memorial, Sward finished a solid seventh out of 20 cars in attendance. He is running a Spec Motor in his Wissota Late Model. Immediately, he noticed the difference in horsepower.
“There ’s a huge difference once I got out there,” Sward said “I got on the gas, and I was going a lot faster than I thought I was. There’s a lot more power. It was a big difference, but it was a lot more fun.”
Limited Late Model/Wissota Late Model #1-2
Residence: Nelson, Minn.
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