As most race fans, specifically NASCAR fans and fans of other forms of stock car racing, probably know by now, racing legend Dick Trickle died last week from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Trickle wasn’t among the winningest drivers in NASCAR, but he was considered, one of — if not the — winningest drivers in all of stock car racing, as the Wisconsin native dominated the short tracks of Wisconsin and throughout the midwestern United States. He also had a personality that made others, including his fellow competitors love to be around him and talk to him. In the time since his death, several of those racing friends have remembered the late Dick Trickle. Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace are among the drivers who raced with and looked up to Trickle while racing throughout the Midwest early on in their careers. In the days since Trickle’s death, they’ve shared some amusing memories and statements of reverence.
Martin recounted a day in 1977 at Wisconsin Rapids. The track promoter offered $100 to any driver who could beat the old track qualifying record. The then-18-year-old Martin shattered the previous record by a large margin, only to then be beaten by Trickle. According to Martin, after Trickle made his qualifying attempt, Trickle went over to Martin and told him he was only supposed to better the old record by a small margin so that they could set new track records every night and keep collecting the $100 bonuses.
Meanwhile, Wallace has talked about how much Trickle helped him early on in his career and how he enjoyed so many little Trickle stories over the years. Wallace didn’t publicly recount any specific stories but he did talk about how instrumental Trickle was to his racing career. Here’s a statement released by Wallace:
“Dick Trickle was my mentor. When I was short track racing, I would call him every Monday morning and he would always help me with race setups and stuff. He and I had such a good time telling little stories, but he was the guy that taught me almost everything in the American Speed Association. And he was the guy that I battled right to the end for my 1983 ASA championship. I barely beat the guy that taught me everything. I’d not seen Dick as much as I’d like to of late. He was a legend. A man that’d won over a thousand short track races, was one of the most winning short trackers in America, was a role model to many short track racers coming up. Could just do magic with the race car and he taught me so much about racing. My success in the ASA and what Trickle taught me is what got me into NASCAR. That’s what got me hired by Cliff Stewart back in ’84. Between Larry Phillips and Dick Trickle, they taught me everything.”
Have any favorite Dick Trickle-related memories you’d like to share? Share them with us via Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or on our Facebook page. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner.