Wins Have Piled Up Quickly for Wilke
He’s only 18, but Tye Wilke’s racing achievements so far would be the envy of some long-time racers.
The Detroit Lakes native’s career started in the INEX Legends in 2016. He has recorded 73 career feature wins, including 67 in the Legend cars. Two International/National Championships in the INEX Legends. Five track championships.
He earned his first win in Sept. 2017, and added three in 2018. 2019 proved to be the breakout season with 17 wins and a track championship.
“When I first started racing, it’s such a short wheel base, it took be 3-4 years to get used to the wheel base,” Wilke said. “Once I got used to the car, I liked it a lot more, and it’s fun.”
He races in the INEX Legends and in recent years has dominated that class locally; he also runs in the IMCA RaceSaver Sprints.
Like many young drivers at Red River Valley Speedway and Buffalo River Speedway, Wilke is a product of the go-karts at the Red River Kart Association.
“My buddy from DL, brought me to the go-kart track and I liked it,” Wilke said. “My dad had a go-kart sitting around and I decided to hop in it, and it just grew from there.”
Since the 2019 season, Wilke has been the dominant area car in the Legends class, recording 65 feature wins. In 2020 he won four track championships, the only driver in the RaceChaser area to attain that feature.
“A lot of it is set up,” Wilke said of the Legends success. “A lot of it is track condition, too. I like slick tracks. If it isn’t really a slick track it isn’t my type of style. And a lot of it is car setup; you’ve got to hit the setups right or it’s not going to be the best night.”
He’s also won the Jamestown Stampede in 2021 and was the King of the Kraut at Wishek. He’s also won the Corn Cob Nationals and the Dash at Dacotah Speedway.
In 2021, Wilke began to perform double-duty, as he hopped behind the wheel of an IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car. He won four features in the class last season, and even recorded a top 10 with the Buffalo Wild Wings NOSA 410 Sprints at Buffalo River Speedway.
“It’s going pretty good,” Wilke said. “The wing adjustment, you have to hit that on the spot. Hopefully we can get a few more wins in the sprint car.”
On Friday at Red River Valley Speedway he won in both the Legend Car and the sprint car, which are part of his nine wins this season. He’s also won the Corn Cob Nationals at Buffalo River (twice), the Jamestown Stampede, was the King of the Kraut and in 2021 won the Dash at Dacotah Speedway.
He’s also done some truck racing on asphalt and has race in Midgets at the Chili Bowl in Oklahoma.
With all of the success so far, what might the future hold for Wilke?
“We have a 410 chassis sitting in the shop now,” Wilke said. “We might get that going.”
INEX Legend and IMCA RaceSaver Sprint #72
Residence: Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Sponsors: Anderson Septic, Detroit Lakes Disposal