ATD caught up with Weiss to get his thoughts on his spectacular 2015 season.
Q: What is your engine/chassis combination?
A: Bloomquist Chassis with a Pro Power/Vic Hill engine.
Q: What were your goals entering the season?
A: To pick and choose and hopefully run more open motor races, which quickly changed after first month of racing. However, did say no matter what happened, we would attend the World 100 and Knoxville Nationals, which we did.
Q: Now that the season has been over for a couple months, how would you assess 2015?
A: It was one of our best years. I built a new shop/house over the winter so it was a very busy year trying to get moved and settled in along with building and maintaining my cars.
"It was one of our best years." - Ricky Weiss on his 2015 campaign
Weiss in victory lane after going sweeping the Norman County Fair double header last June. Mike Spieker photo.
A: It always feels amazing to be crowned the champion. This year we had an amazing point average with having 25 wins and over 10 runner-ups in 45 shows,
Q: Excluding the national championship, what was the highlight of 2015?
A: Just the overall success we had, lots of wins very few break downs and next to no damage. That makes it so much easier to tune on the car and make it faster when you’re only doing maintenance and not having to repair anything.
Q: On the flip side, what was the low point of your season?
A: I think that is a very easy question. With what went down on getting DQ’d at the Challenge Series race for having my transponder a quarter of an inch off where it was supposed to be placed, which I may add, that it’s been there on all my cars ever since I raced Late Models. That took us out of the running for the Challenge Series points, where after we won the race by straightaway, it put us four points behind point leader John Kannta with four remaining races. Our season went on, however, and we continued to run just as strong with the transponder on the back of the midplate, rather than on the side.
"The NLRA is a great series and are very welcoming towards new cars." - Ricky Weiss
Ricky Weiss on the throttle at River Cities last August. Mike Spieker photo.
Q: Was there a certain point in the season that you knew you had a chance to repeat as a national champion or did a great start to 2015 have that thought in your head early on?
A: With the great start we had on the season it would have been dumb not to run for it. I like the way you only need 30 good shows and can throw away your bad ones. It takes a lot of stress off during the season knowing a bad night or bad weekend won’t take you out of the runnings.
Q: About halfway through the season you decided to not defend your Blaine Brothers Challenge Series title and instead competed with the Northern Late Model Racing Association (NLRA) where you still managed to tie for the most wins of the season and become a distant threat for the championship. What does that say about your race team and it's adaptability?
Q: You've traveled with either the NLRA or Challenge Series for several years, what attracts you to the touring series over competing at a track weekly?
A: Mainly the purses are what pulls our team to go run. I’ve always said you’re only as good as the cars you race with so the higher purse races attract faster and bigger car counts, which will only make me better.
Q: What series can we expect you to run in 2016? NLRA or Challenge Series?
A: I will not run for Challenge Series points again until there are management changes.
Q: This year it seemed as though you bounced back and forth between River Cities Speedway and I-94 Speedway on Friday nights. What are a couple things that you like about each facility?
A: I love I-94 Speedway. The people are great, the facility is great and my car works great there. The track is always very racy and at the end of the night you can usually wax your car and race the next night. River Cities has been racy, but it also can be rough. We have had issues there in the past where things were called very one sided, which is why we decided to run Fergus Falls the past few years. We are always fast when we go there, which makes it hard to drive by and travel the extra two hours for us. We’ve discussed it with my family, team, and sponsors and this is the better option for our team.
Q: Is there one race that you would like to win that you haven't yet?
A: The John Seitz Memorial, any open motor race, dream come true World 100,or the Dream at Eldora.
Q: Is there one track out there that you would like to win at? Or even race at?
Q: I know you had a fantastic run at the Lucas Oil Knoxville Nationals, talk about that weekend down in Iowa.
Weiss racing for JR Motorsports at the East Bay Raceway in Florida last month. Mike Spieker photo.
"it is very nerve racking lining up beside those guys" - Ricky Weiss on Racing at Knoxville
Weiss before action in Florida. Mike Spieker photo.
Q: Along with the Knoxville Nationals, you also ran at Eldora for the World 100. Talk about the difference in preparation, focus, and difficulty entering those events, compared to regional races around here.
A: No comparison, it is very nerve racking lining up beside those guys, but when the green flag flies it’s all focus from there. Those crown jewel races were both three day shows and every day is as important as the last. It all starts with qualifying, which I wish we did around home. You work hard for your position and should be rewarded for it instead of penalizing the fast cars and inverting eight or nine depending on the car count like we do in WISSOTA.
Q: Being that you are no stranger to the premier Late Model events in the country, is there any desire to hop on a national touring series, such as the World of Outlaws or Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series in the future?
Q: Before entering the Late Model ranks, you competed in the Super Truck division. How do you feel that class prepared you for the Late Model? Did you run any other classes in your younger days?
A: The Super Trucks we a good class good clean racing and with the quick change and open rear suspension you can adjust it very similar to the Late Model. I also ran a Modified for few years until our home track, Red River Co-op Speedway picked up Late Models. After that I ran them weekly.
Q. Can you list all the tracks you hit in 2015?
A. Hmmm tough question ill try:
Red River Co-op speedway, River Cities Speedway, I-94 Speedway, Viking Speedway, Casino Speedway, Dakota State Fair Speedway, Cedar Lake Speedway, Norman County Raceway, USA Raceway, Eastbay Raceway, Volusia County Raceway, La Salle Speedway, Dacotah Speedway, Estevan Speedway, Brown County Speedway, Fairmont Raceway, Redwood Speedway, Rapids Speedway, Greenbush Race Park, AmsOil Speedway, Oglivie Raceway, Jamestown Speedway, and Devils Lake Speedway.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite track?
A: Eldora Speedway.
Q: What are the goals and plans for 2016?
A: USA Raceway in Tuscon, AZ and Florida in February for Speedweeks.
Q: Who helps you out on the car week in and week out?
A: My dad, Keith Hayman, Brad Kreller, Dayna Fossay, Leo Feeleus, and JR Haley. None of this would at all be possible without them.
Weiss in early season action at the I-94 Speedway last May. Mike Spieker photo.
A: Derricks Sandblasting, Hands On Excavating, A.I.E Communications, Turk Enterprises, Keewaitin Truck Service, JC Properties, Metalz In Motion, Cousin Farms, Forrest Flying Service, Allrig Towing, Mark Brandt Trucking, Allied Roofing, Straight Ahead Ventures, Eibach Springs, and Wulff Pumps.
I’d also like to send a huge thanks goes to my family; Mom and dad, Dayna, Ryan, Grandma and Grandpa.