10 Questions With….Ryan Gutknecht Driver of the #01 Midwest Sportsman and #01 Late Model

Why did you get into racing?
Growing up, racing was all I knew. My uncle [Bobby] raced at Hales Corners when I was a kid, and every Saturday I was in the stands with my family. I always knew it was something I wanted to do. My whole family is involved in it and all of our longtime friends are people I’ve met through racing.

What are your future plans?
The days of guys my age making it to NASCAR ended with Dick Trickle. I’d like to race super late models. I would also like to be able to travel to tracks like Winchester [IN] and New Smyrna [FL].

What do you like about Slinger Super Speedway?
There is no other track like it! I’ve raced at a lot of tracks in the Midwest, and Slinger is its own animal. The high banks and speed of the track make it fun. You can run two grooves and when you get your car working, you can make some good passes high and low.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
I don’t really travel much without a racecar behind me. I worked in New York for a week a few years ago; it was interesting how different the bars and restaurants were compared to Wisconsin. Everyone out there said they could tell we were from Wisconsin.

What is your “real job”?
I work for Fischer Construction as a heavy equipment operator. My typical day consists of running a 336 excavator on job sites throughout the Milwaukee area.

Who is on your crew?
My dad [George] is my tire guy and spotter. My friend Steve is my set up guy; he and Glenn help me make sure the car is ready to go during the week. Mike, Jimmy, and Skeeter come to the track to help out on race day. My fiance, Michelle, takes care of everything else.

Who are your sponsors?
Oak Creek Automotive, Roth Heating (Oak Creek), Burgey’s Pub and Prime (Caledonia), C&C Pumps and Plumbing (Hartford), Barkers Reconditioning Specialists (Franksville), Truck Country (Oak Creek)

Is there anyone else you need to thank?
The Lampman family has helped me out a lot this year. I destroyed my car in the beginning of the year and they came out to the shop to help me get it back together.

Behling Racing Equipment and Wegner Automotive have been helping me for years and are all great guys to work with.
My Mom [Denise] has been to almost all of my races since I started back in 2007. She sits in the stands every Sunday whether it is 95 and sunny or 30 and snowing!

What is your favorite food?
Chicken wings from Burgey’s Pub and Prime in Caledonia, with sweet red chili or Burgey’s dry rub. Cheese, sausage, pepperoni pizza from Marco’s in Oak Creek.

Which Slinger driver do you have the most respect for?
My uncle, Bobby Gutknecht. He was always the guy in the pits that would help out anyone (and still does). Whether a competitor needed help with setup, needed parts, or got wrecked he was there to help get them back out. He’s the reason my car number is 01. The way you used to get your number was from how you finished in points the year before. My uncle finished tenth one year at Hales and he always had really nice looking cars. The announcer at the track said his car was a perfect 10 and his number has been 10 since. I wouldn’t be racing if it wasn’t for him and choosing 01 was my way to thank him.

I also have a great deal of respect for guys like Conrad Morgan and Jerry Eckhardt. To be racing at over 70 years old, doing what they love, is something everyone should respect.