WEST FARGO-- Tye Wilke has a need for speed. At only 17-years-old, Wilke is already becoming one of the region’s most decorated drivers of legends cars over the past seven seasons.
“I love this time of year, racing is really fun. I love it,” said Tye.
Now the Detroit Lakes native is taking on a new challenge this year, driving the sprint car for the first time in his career. He needed to have six years of experience, before transitioning to a new type of car.
“Compared to the legend, it’s going to be a lot of work to do. We have watched sprints for a while and we’d like to jump in and see what it’s like and we really like it, so that’s kind of what happened,” said Wilke.
Even with racing a new car, Tye still continues to race legends, a car he has more than six years of experience driving.
“It’s cool, I don’t think I could leave the legend. It’s a fun and really challenging car to race,” said Tye.
Behind Tye’s success on the track is another face, his father, Travis.
“It’s special, we enjoy it. I know where he is at on Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday,” said Travis.
Dad serves as more than his son’s biggest supporter. Travis helps prep Tye’s cars, he travels to all of Tye’s races, and gives his son racing pointers along the way.
“He enjoys it. He tried different sports, and then we started racing and it’s just like the other sports went to the side and this kind of took over. He’s enjoyed it, we're together on weekends,” said Travis.
“It connected us a lot. I like it a lot better than having a buddy or someone there. Yeah we get our times where we argue but we’re always close and helping each other out and he’s always telling me what to do and a whole bunch of stuff,” said Tye.
Travis' racing days are behind him, but there are still moments when he and Tye can share time on the track together.
“Two years ago every night in Ada we would race against each other. I remember I spun out and a guy rolled and there’s a picture of me and him parked next to each other and we were talking in the front stretch in front of the fans, so it was kind of cool,” said Tye.
In a year full of new challenges for Tye on the track, having dad by his side through it all means more than any race result.
“It’s really cool. To me, I really feel like I wouldn't have made it as far as I have come,” said Tye.
Tye’s ultimate goal is to become a NASCAR driver. He and his dad have hopes of competing on tar instead of a dirt track next summer.