2001, 2002, & 2003 Seasons
It Took Four Months, But. . .
Trickle's Confident He'll Catch A Ride
Racer wants to compete again in NASCAR events
By Dave Kallmann; of the Journal Sentinel staff; Last Updated: Jan. 20, 2001
Waukesha - For years now, Wisconsin Motorsports Charities has tried to bring Dick Trickle, a stock-car racing legend in this state, to its annual recognition dinner. This year he had time. And that's good news. But in a way, his availability Friday night represented bad news, as well. Trickle was able to donate his time because he's got more time than obligations these days. Trickle is no newcomer to unemployment. It has been a fact of life for most of the last dozen years, since the short-track superstar moved south from his hometown of Wisconsin Rapids and won rookie honors in the ultimate stock-car series, NASCAR Winston Cup. But this time around, the phone has been strangely silent.
Trickle, 59, isn't ready to retire, by any means, and he's not ready to concede defeat.
My stock's gone down because I haven't had a good couple years. The fact that two years have been added to my life, people think that's a factor. But the fact is, we just didn't get a good roll going and get a good, consistent team together where we could run every day up front. This isn't the time of the season for something to happen, but let's just go a month or two. In this business, everything changes. It's like the stock market. It's down now, but stay in because it will be up.
In addition to Trickle, nine other racing personalities took part in the 10th annual recognition dinner at the Country Inn Hotel and Conference Center. Also participating were Indianapolis veteran Lyn St. James, road-racing great Elliott Forbes-Robinson, driver-turned-commentator Derek Daly, American Speed Association driver Gary St. Amant, six-time Badger midget champion Dan Boorse, sprint-car standout Craig Dollansky, motorcycle champ Mike Ciccotto, colorful promoter "Broadway" Bob Metzler and longtime Indy starter Duane Sweeney. The dinner raised $45,000 for the Menomonee Falls-based Ranch Community Services, a rehabilitation center for developmentally disabled adults. In 10 years, Wisconsin Motorsports Charities has generated $270,000 for the center.
Trickle, whose Busch program dried up when the sponsor pulled out, raced full time on the Busch Series for the past three years while picking up fill-in Winston Cup rides as he could. Last season he picked up three top-10 finishes in Busch and a top placing of 23rd over six Cup starts.
We had a couple good runs going in Busch, but nothing consistent, and even most of those got blown up by something or another. But that's the deal. If you don't run good, you aren't the driver of choice. And right now I'm not the driver of choice, so I've got to run good and then I will be.
Trickle truly believes his stock will rise again because he has been here before. He went into 1991 without a full-time ride, but a last-minute deal with Rahmoc put him in the Daytona 500 and a fifth-place finish set him up for the year. Trickle's longest sustained Winston Cup ride, with Junie Donlavey's team, came as a result of a series of fill-in deals. Admittedly, the lack of success over the past two years has worn on Trickle. Because of that, he might not be as persistent in pursuing full-time rides as he once was. Still, Trickle is sure that something will come his way.
Hopefully all the opportunities don't pass me as time goes on, and I'm able to get in and show the desire and run in the top five and maybe win a race.
Well, What's The Most Important
Single Thing A Winner Has To Have?
Believe it or not, it's "desire." The winner is so consumed by the need to win that everything, I mean everything and anything else in his life is in second place. No human can keep this up forever. I'd say 20 years of it is the most I've ever seen, and 10 years the average.
Very few people have any idea of all the sacrifices a truly great driver, or any competitive driver, has to accept. It's many times, just two degrees cooler than hell. Blood boils at 140 degrees F, and when blood boils, death follows in a couple of minutes. And how 'bout sitting in same position for four hours, tightly strapped in at temperatures round 130 degrees traveling at 200 to 300 feet per second two to 12 inches from a competitor with restricted vision, (Windshield covered with oil and rubber and the last hour running into the sun on a quarter of each lap) breathing carbon monoxide five to ten times above normal till you're fuckin' dingy. Where the real story is your asshole is so puckered-up you couldn't drive a 10-penny nail into it with a four-pound hammer. Then do that 30 or more times a year. If nothing else, by now you must realize that anybody who does this is out of his fucking mind.
Listen to this. . .until a driver hits the end of the road, just before a race starts they are nervous and apprehensive. This is what made it so hard for me to digest this bullshit from Darlington '97. "Dale Earnhardt goes to sleep waiting for race to start," Bullshit. . . Dale was sick. No cat's that cool.
But, and this is true. When the green flag falls, and race starts, the driver is enjoying the hell out of it.
Finally the day comes when you brush your teeth race morning and you puke. Yup, competition, racing is an unnatural event physically. Desire and physical make-up combined with mental conditioning very definitely limit how many times you can do this. Dick Trickle is a very special person. I don't know how in the hell he has been able to go so long. Actually, he' still pretty competitive. (But watch the tail end of a long race, you can see Father Time talkin' to Dick.) The driver's pay for this life style abuse with poor health in their so-called "golden years." You don't see many of the old hands around the track after they quit. Know why? When they aren't in it, they don't want to admit they abused their selves that badly, or they're in a wheel chair, walking wounded, bed-ridden, or dying. Maybe they realize they foolishly wasted their lives.
The excerpt above is from "All Right You Sons-a-Bitches, Let's Have a Race!" a book by Henry 'Smokey' Yunick, owner of the Best Damn Garage In Town, edited by Ben Shackleford, published by Carbon Press, LC.
Hot Laps with....Dick Trickle
December 3, 2002; By Amanda Brahler; BGNRacing.com
Drivers; with each passing season they play musical chairs as owners look for the next best thing in the sport. Recently, the latest trend is that of a young, marketable driver. Move over young guns. Dick Trickle is looking for a comeback.
Trickle, a 61 year old veteran of everything stock, has driven a long and victorious career in the American Speed Association (ASA), NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup divisions. He has also driven in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and in various events throughout Canada. On the short track series of ASA, he is a two-time champion. On the NASCAR side of things, he has won both poles and races in the Busch and Cup levels. (Trickle's Cup win came in 1990 during a non-points event, the Winston Open.)
I don't know that it's not just evolution,
Trickle says of his absence of recent seat time due to younger drivers.
You see some of the older quarterbacks out doing the younger ones. I think it's the individual. I don't think age has everything to do with it. I'll still bite the bit and dig. I feel I can run in the top five in Winston Cup with a top five ride. But getting the top five ride, whether it will come again, I don't know.
Trickle is one who will not let his age deter him from his dream of not just racing, but once again winning in stock car's premier division. Why would he start now, he's never let it slow him down before.
Unlike the 2002 Winston Cup Rookie of the Year, Ryan Newman, who was 24 when he grabbed top honors, Trickle won the Winston Cup Rookie title in 1989, at an age double that of Newman, he was 48.
It's somewhat of a changing of the guards, the young coming in and the old are going out. But I haven't retired yet. I'm still looking for the right options. I'm 60 years old; I'm probably not going to get a call from Yates or any of the major teams to drive. I can do the job; I'm just not getting the right options.
The past few seasons he has faded out of the lime light but kept his racing passion flaring while testing for the IROC Series, attempted events in a Dave Marcis entry, as well as doing some private testing for Ray Evernham's research and development program.
I did qualify Marcis' car for him, of course he didn't have any major backing, so that was very limited. I did some testing for Ray Evernham a couple of times for his Dodge team. I still test the IROC cars at the four major races that they run and I ran about a half dozen short track races up in the Midwest. I'm not retired but at the same time, I'm not getting the options. Although I am getting some calls, I don't feel that they are competitive to show well enough so I refused some of them.
During the early stages of his NASCAR stint, Trickle operated his own Busch Series team, but did so only to showcase his talent. As of late, he has had some options, none of which have amounted to a stable return to the Grand National division.
A lot of the Busch teams are struggling and were going to struggle whether I was there or not. I did get a few calls but I felt they needed a lot of help, more then I could give them. They needed to re-examine their whole team and I didn't feel I wanted to start all over, the former Busch Series winner says of his current options.
Throughout his illustrious career, he has accumulated over 1200 wins across the United States and Canada. By doing so, he continues to have one of the strongest fan support systems in racing.
The fact that I came through the Midwest ranks through the 1960s, '70s, and '80s, I was the (Dale) Earnhardt of the short tracks. Back when (Richard) Petty was winning all the races down there, I was winning my share up north on the short tracks. I got a big fan base through all the racing from Canada to Florida, from California to the east coast, all on the short tracks. I appreciate my fans and I love racing. I do it for the competitiveness; I don't do it for the money.
It's hard to believe a true racer such as Dick Trickle is unable to find a permanent place in NASCAR's ranks. Although some of the younger drivers are apparently winning over promoters more so then races, Trickle is staying positive and staying true to his racing roots.
I was told by the Wood Brothers in '89, they said 'if you would have come down here 20 years ago, you'd be an Earnhardt or a Waltrip,' I wouldn't give up those last 20 years. I've had a great life; I won a lot of races competing against great competitors. I enjoyed what I was doing. I wouldn't change anything in my career. Unless I get the right option or the right call, I'll be running limited. With the right call, I'll be out there every weekend. Who knows, maybe I'll be revived and get the support of the right sponsor and team and be out there every weekend. But if I don't, life isn't bad.