Throughout the 1998 season, Trickle became the steadying rock for the #90 team to anchor itself to. The team lost crew chief Tommy Baldwin during the season and at year's end Heilig-Meyers decided to end its sponsorship.
Trickle ended the year unsure where he would be driving in 1999.
Despite all the problems, Trickle finished a fighting sixth in the spring Atlanta race, and qualified for every event except the Pepsi 400. Trickle is slated to drive the #13 car in the preliminary to the Bud Shootout, and attempt to qualify for the 1999 Daytona 500.
If a full-time ride fails to materialize, he will compete regularly in the Busch Series with the #5 Schneider Chevy. No matter where he drives, Dick will bring his vast knowledge of racing and will be a contender every week.
Norfolk auto dealer Joe Falk put veteran Dick Trickle in the driver's seat of his car, replacing Steve Grissom, just two days after Grissom failed to make the 43-car field at Atlanta, only four races into the Winston Cup season.
The deal with Steve was four races, and it didn't look good to Falk with Grissom. They needed somebody who could tell what was needed in the car a little bit better, and Trickle has certainly got a lot of experience with that.
Trickle will drive his Chevrolet on a race-to-race basis.
Trickle took over the wheel from David Green as driver of the #41 Kodiak/Larry Hedrick Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo for the remainder of the 1999 season begining with the Dura Lube/Kmart 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway at Loudon, NH.
Turning his full-time attention to the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division in 1999, racing for Spencer Motor Ventures, which is owned by erstwhile NASCAR Winston Cup competitor Jimmy Spencer. Turning the wrenches for Trickle will be Bryan Schaffer, who fulfilled the same role for Trickle in 1998.
Last year was a productive campaign in the NASCAR Busch Series for Trickle, the 57-year-old Wisconsin short-track legend. He notched his second career victory in the series, winning the Dura-Lube 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Ford Preseason TestingBy Brett Borden; NASCAR Online Daytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 1, 1999)
As many as five Ford teams are expected at Daytona International Speedway Sunday to begin NASCAR Winston Cup Series preseason testing for the upcoming Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14. Drivers Dick Trickle, Ricky Craven, Robert Pressley, Mark Gibson and Mike Harmon are scheduled to test at the 2.5-mile track for two days, Sunday and Monday. The Ford test begins nearly a solid month of testing that leads up to Speedweeks '99, which begins Jan. 28 with practice and qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona sports car race. A section of the Oldfield Grandstand is open during testing at no charge, with access through the lobby of DAYTONA USA. Craven and Harmon are with new teams in 1999, while Trickle is scheduled to test for owner/driver Bill Elliott. Trickle has no definite NASCAR Winston Cup Series plans for 1999, while the status of the No. 13 team is also up in the air.
Craven will spend next season behind the wheel of Fords fielded by SBIII Motorsports, which is owned by Florida businessman Scott Barbour. Veteran car owner Junie Donlavey will field cars for Harmon, who is scheduled to compete for NASCAR Winston Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors in 1999 along with Tony Stewart, Buckshot Jones and Elliott Sadler, among others.
Pressley will test the No. 77 Ford Taurus for Jasper Motorsports, while Daytona Beach native Gibson, a regular ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series driver, will test a Ford with hopes of making his hometown NASCAR Winston Cup Series race. The Ford teams return to test at Daytona Jan. 12-13, while the General Motors contingent is set to test Jan. 6-7 and Jan. 19-20. The only confirmed team for GM's first session is the No. 31 Lowe's Chevrolet team, owned by Richard Childress and normally piloted by Mike Skinner. Due to Skinner's recovery from off-season knee surgery, veteran Dave Marcis will be handling driving duties during the test session.
One other team with definite plans for Daytona is the No. 55 Square D Chevrolet team owned by Andy Petree and driven by Kenny Wallace. The team plans on using several of its testing dates at tracks that comprise the early part of the 1999 schedule.
According to crew chief Jimmy Elledge, the team plans to test at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham on Sunday and Monday, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Jan. 11-12 and at Daytona Jan. 19-20. "We'll have a full month of January," said Elledge, who added that there's a method to the team's early testing madness. "The reason we picked that strategy is that next year, being a new team, we'll have no provisionals. We need to get in the races, get in in the first round and hopefully we'll be high enough in the points to be able to have provisionals to fall back on later in the year."
Teams competing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona have the track Jan. 9-11, while the Goody's Dash Series, a part of the NASCAR Touring Division, and the NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division also have scheduled test dates. Goody's Dash Series teams are at Daytona Jan. 15-16, while the NASCAR Busch Series teams will use the track Jan. 17-18. Speedweeks '99 begins with Rolex 24 practice and qualifying Jan. 28 and concludes with the prestigious Daytona 500 Feb. 14.
Trickle Quickest As Daytona Testing OpensDaytona Beach, Fla. (Jan. 3, 1999)
Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., posted the fastest time Sunday as five Ford NASCAR Winston Cup Series teams opened the pre-season test schedule at Daytona International Speedway, preparing for the Feb. 7 Bud Shootout and the "Great American Race," the 41st annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 14. Trickle was clocked at 47.611 seconds, an average speed of 189.032 mph, in one of two No. 13 Ford Tauruses owned by Bill Elliott that he tested.
Among the other drivers who tested were Robert Pressley in the No. 77 Jasper Engines Ford (48.034 seconds, 187.367 mph), Mike Harmon in the No. 90 Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Ford (48.449, 185.762), Ricky Craven in the No. 58 SBIII Motorsports Taurus (48.527, 185.464) and Mark Gibson in the No. 59 JaniKing Ford (48.896, 184.064). Trickle, Pressley and Harmon each tested two cars. The participation of the No. 13 team this season has been in question since it lost its sponsorship following the 1998 season. Trickle also was out of a ride when team owner Junie Donlavey lost his sponsor. Donlavey subsequently signed a deal with Big Daddy's, which brought driver Harmon to the No. 90 team based in Richmond, Va. Trickle said of the operation that Elliott debuted in 1998 with co-owner Dan Marino,
I think Bill has enough parts and pieces and cars and personnel to run a second team part-time. And as you know the Daytona 500 is the granddaddy of them all. If you're going to run five races during the year, the Daytona 500 is going to be one of them. It just happened that I am the odd man out during the off-season, and he (Elliott) gave me a call and asked me to come down here and shake the car down.
Craven, who will drive for the new No. 58 SBIII Motorsports team owned by Scott Barbour, is anxiously awaiting the beginning of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup season. Craven suffered some down time in 1998 due to injuries suffered in racing accidents and lost his ride in the process. He substituted for the injured Ernie Irvan at the end of the season and had a couple decent runs in Irvan's No. 36 Skittles Pontiac. "We were hoping for a good strong start, but most importantly, we want to show improvement each time we test," Craven said. "Time is a scarce commodity during testing. You have to make the most of what little time you do have. "We are awfully proud of what we have accomplished during the off-season, but the real test is when we come back here in February and get ready for the biggest race we will run all year."
General Motors NASCAR Winston Cup teams are scheduled to have the track on Wednesday and Thursday. Ford teams are scheduled to return on Jan. 12-13, when more than 25 teams have indicated they will participate.
Trickle Continues Fast Testing Pace
Veteran NASCAR Winston Cup Series driver Dick Trickle continued his fast pace in the opening session of preseason testing Monday at Daytona International Speedway as he wrapped up Ford's initial two-day test with laps at more than 189 mph in a pair of Elliott Racing Ford Tauruses.
Trickle, the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., native who is only planning a full-time NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division schedule in the Schneider National Chevrolet at this point in the season, was clocked at 189.909 mph in one No. 13 Ford and at 189.845 in the second car he tested. In a one-race deal, Trickle will attempt to qualify Bill Elliott's unsponsored No. 13 entry for the season-opening Daytona 500, set for Feb. 14.
I'm really excited about this. I'm honored that Bill called me and really wanted me to do this for him. Both cars seem to be running good. One car was a little bit slower, but once we worked on it a little bit, we were able to get them both up to speed. It's a one-race deal, so we're here to get the job done that Bill has hired me to do and that is make the field for the Daytona 500 and put on a good show in the No. 13 car.
Only four teams took advantage of the second day of testing. General Motors teams, using either Chevrolets or Pontiacs, will be at the 2.5-mile track on Wednesday and Thursday preparing for the events of Speedweeks 1999, which begins on Jan. 28 with practice for the Rolex 24 At Daytona USRRC sports car race. Stock car Speedweeks begins with practice on Feb. 3.
Other drivers who tested Monday included Robert Pressley, who ran a pair of No. 77 Jasper Engines Fords with a best lap of 187.563 mph; Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Mike Harmon, who was at 187.274 in one of two No. 90 Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce Fords he tested, and Ricky Craven, who was clocked at 186.579 mph in the SBIII Motorsports Taurus. "To have the opportunity to come here to Daytona with Junie (Donlavey, team owner) is a dream come true," Harmon said. "Our goal before we got here was to get some seat time and for me to get comfortable in the car. I think we have achieved both of those goals and on top of that we weren't as slow as we thought we might be right of the box." USRRC cars will test Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Ford NASCAR Winston Cup Series cars return on Jan. 12. More than 25 teams are expected for that test.
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