|Bud Koehler and young Dick Trickle, two Midwest short track legends.|
Before he arrived in NASCAR’s Winston Cup competition, Trickle had raced for decades – yes, decades – in a host of racing series beginning in his native Wisconsin: ASA, ARCA, USAC, and many more letter combinations that only local fans would recognize. He won titles, track championships, and literally dozens of races a year, always struggling to keep his operation afloat and funded.
|NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year Dick Trickle.|
His big break into NASCAR’s top series came when he was nearly 50. Think about that for a minute – can you imagine someone entering Sprint Cup competition in 2013 in their late forties? Unthinkable! And yet it happened, with Trickle wheeling his way to the rookie of the year title in 1989, beating out a tough young Jimmy Spencer for the honor. Trickle manned the cockpit for the Stavola Brothers that season, eventually moving on to drive for Team III, Butch Mock, Larry Hedrick, and the legendary Junie Donleavy.
|A true racer, once Trickle had reached Winston Cup racing he still competed in Busch Grand National series.|
Trickle never struck gold in Winston Cup, and considering his cars were seldom fielded by the best-funded teams his three third-place finishes, his pole at Dover, and a victory in the Winston Open at Charlotte amounts to a successful campaign.
So Dick Trickle didn’t spend much time in the Winston Cup victory lane, but he became a fan favorite. Real race fans recognized the gritty determination built by years and years of short track competition out of the limelight, and embraced Trickle upon his arrival in the top stock car series. But even when he arrived in Winston Cup racing, he remained true to who he was – I can clearly remember seeing an in-car camera capturing Trickle as he lit up a smoke while cruising around under a yellow flag.
Rest in peace, Dick…