SLINGER, Wis. – Grant Griesbach was, in a sense, already a grizzled veteran of racing when he pulled into Slinger Super Speedway at nine years old to drive a Slinger Bee – the track’s 4-cylinder division.
“Yeah, who was the dumb dad who allowed that?” joked his dad, Jeremy Griesbach.
At 10 years old, Grant won a feature in the Slinger Bees division, becoming the youngest feature winner in track history.
At 12 years old, he moved into the track’s limited late model division, which is the second tier division to the track’s primary division – super late models.
Now a full-grown 17-year-old going into his senior year at nearby Pewaukee High School, Grant is gaining the respect of his competitors and showcasing to fans he is worthy of being in the super late model division.
He’s not only in the division, he’s also become a contender.
“He’s doing a good job; there’s no doubt,” said three-time track champion Brad “JJ” Mueller.
At Tuesday night’s 40th SUPERSEAL Slinger Nationals presented by Miller Lite, Griesbach’s result won’t show the competitiveness he displayed. By a little luck, Griesbach got the pole position.
In qualifying he was 14th quickest. The top 12 automatically qualified for the 200-lap main event. But, because two cars failed post-qualifying inspection, he and Ryan Farrell got to start the Slinger Nationals on the front row.
Grant said the break moved him from what would’ve been a start outside the top 12. And he didn’t flinch at the opportunity to flex his proverbial muscles, running with some of the nation’s best race car drivers such as Ty Majeski, Matt Kenseth, Daniel Hemrich and others.
At one point Tuesday night, he was surrounded by those three drivers.
“I think he can run up there,” Jeremy said. “I really do.
“What I think he needs to learn is more on the car side, the set ups and be smart enough to do a lot of that.”
Grant is working hard to do that, Jeremy said.
One of Grant’s mentors is six-time super late model champion Conrad Morgan, who sets up his pit two spots down. Jeremy said Grant and Conrad have been working together, which Grant said has been beneficial. But it has, in a possible sign of Grant’s growth, become a relationship where they lean on each other.
“But he’s making a lot of his own calls and his own decisions,” Jeremy said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. When it works, he can run up there with those guys.”
The growth and development is noticeable. Grant led the first four laps of the feature – won by Kenseth – and went on to finish seventh. However, that was his worst spot on the track. He was in the top five virtually all race long.
“He’s learning stuff on his own,” Jeremy said. “I think as he grows out of the teenage stuff and gets a little bit more attention to detail, he’ll be even better.
“He’s working at it; he’s busting his butt.”
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