After several years as the most successful regional dirt late model racer in the upper Midwest, Ricky Weiss is a title contender with the nomadic World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series.
The 31-year-old Canadian competitor from Headingley, Manitoba, finished third in last year’s series standings and earned the rookie-of-the-year award.
The five-time WISSOTA late model champion (2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2018) is finding success on the national stage thanks in part to a unique relationship with legendary late model driver and innovator Scott Bloomquist.
“When we went with his cars this time, Scott kind of took me under his wing and really put me a step above the rest. He really took the time to teach me what I needed,” Weiss explained. “I think he saw a little bit of himself in me and pushed me to do more. Being in the shop together, we can bounce ideas off each other. It’s more than a working relationship; it’s a friendship with him.
“Scott is a very good teacher. I know a lot of guys think he’s that guy who doesn’t talk, but he’s been more than wonderful with me. Anytime I have a question, he goes into so much detail that you are not left scratching your head,” Weiss continued. “Two years ago, I wasn’t able to do the stuff I’m able to do now and that’s all from Scott pushing me and telling me what we need to do. Now, we’ve gone as far as building our own cars at Scott’s shop. I’m racing a car I was able to build with his help.”
Like many racers of his generation, Weiss grew up around the sport.
“My family has always been interested in some sort of racing,” he said. “My dad, Derrick Weiss, never drag raced himself, but he was always helping some friends. He also sponsored a couple of dirt cars here and there. Eventually, he said he wanted to do it himself and he got into a dirt car.
“Then my brother, Bryan, started racing and eventually I got to do it. The first time I got in a dirt car I was probably 16 years old and it was definitely fun. I had been working on them since I was about 10 years old. Growing up, I was always keeping track of what my dad and brother were doing. Eventually, my brother and I teamed up one year. He ran all of the shows in Canada and I ran all of the shows in the states. That led to more and more and all of sudden I was doing it every other weekend. I slowly progressed and stepped up through the years.”
Weiss was a true weekend warrior during the early years of his career as he spent four days a week working for the family business — Derrick’s Sandblasting — a heavy-duty truck body shop.
“When I was working back home, I was working at my dad’s shop. We were fortunate that if we wanted to take off on a Thursday to go racing, it was easy because he was the boss,” Weiss recalled. “We were pretty much Monday through Thursday and then we raced at our home track on Thursday night. Friday morning, I would maintenance the car and we would hit the road and head south.
“My home track (Red River Speedway) was in Winnipeg. It was only about 30 minutes from our house. But to run on Friday night we would go to a track (River Cities Speedway) in Grand Forks, N.D., which is about three hours from our house, or (I-94 Speedway) in Fergus Falls, Minn., which is five hours away. Then Saturday we would run at Viking Speedway in Alexandria, Minn., which is about six hours from our house, and we would do that same circuit about every weekend.”
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