Trickle A Legend In His Own Time

CHARLOTTE, NC (May 17, 2013) – It was just past 6:30 a.m. and the party was still in full swing when the door to cramped hotel conference room swung open with a thud.

"You all are nothing but a bunch of drunks," boomed the intruder to the startled inebriates.

"Gimme a beer."

A large cheer went through the room as Dick Trickle wandered over to the cooler where he grabbed a frosty and joined the revelry. I’ll never forget him telling me as he reached in the cooler, "It’s good you guys were here. I almost had to go to bed."

So it was that 1996 summer morning when Richard LeRoy ‘Dick’ Trickle joined our drunken row at Chose’s Family Inn in Stoughton, WI. Our group was hammered – totally lathered – celebrating Rich Bickle’s Miller Nationals championship. It had been an epic night. Not only had we beaten Trickle – and some of the best super late model stock car drivers/teams in the country – but we’d also shut down the Madison International Speedway pit area, two bars and a bowling alley before winding up in the hotel conference room just before daybreak.

Meanwhile, Trickle drank the night away too at several other locations. Forget the fact he didn’t win. He partied anyway. It’s the way we all did it back then – race hard, play hard.

Nobody ever did either as well as Trickle.

Eventually, our party petered out about 8 a.m. and we dragged ourselves back to our rooms to sleep/pass out. Trickle was one of the last to leave with me. For some reason, it made complete sense for us to each take a beer back to our rooms.

On Thursday, Trickle passed away in North Carolina at the age of 71. As news of his demise unfolded, I found myself reliving parts of my own life – my times as a young fan marveling at his epic ‘White Knight’ days in the 1960’s, my years covering him as a Wisconsin racing reporter in the 1970’s and 1980’s and, best of all, racing against him as Bickle’s spotter in the 1990’s.

Like countless others, I was honored to be among Trickle’s friends, especially in the Wisconsin contingent of those who knew him the best. To us, Dick Trickle was giant, the most dominant short-track stock car driver ever. NASCAR may have had Richard Petty, but Trickle was ‘the King’ to us – a favorite son of ‘Sconnie’ who was admired and revered by competitors and fans alike.

In the end, nobody ever raced like Dick Trickle.

Nobody ever won as many pavement stock car races as he did.

Nobody ever did it powered coffee, beer and cigarettes like he did.

And nobody ever wore the mantle of ‘legend in his own time’ more effortlessly and selflessly than Dick did.


Not ever before.

Not since.

Never again.

So fire up a cig Dick, crack open a PBR, and keep an eye on us. We’ll do our best to keep the racing and the party going, but it sure won’t be the same without you.

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