Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., would win the final Northland 300 stock car race at the Minnesota State Fair on August 27, 1972.
The 30-year-old speedster made his appearance at the historic half-mile a memorable one making short work of a stellar field that afternoon and winning handily. Front-row starter Jim Sauter grabbed the initial lead only to be passed by Trickle on the 28th circuit. From there, Trickle would gun his 1970 Mach I Mustang around for the remaining 272 laps on his way to win number 55. He would earn $2,000 for the victory plus an additional $100 for setting fast time.
Try as he might for a third straight victory, but Marv Marzofka would have to settle for second place while Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., grabbed third and Jim Sauter would take fourth. Trickle would go on to amass 67 feature wins that season besting the old mark of 58 feature wins by Ramo Stott. The Northland 300 was a unique race in the sense that it was an IMCA-sanctioned event, but it didn’t necessarily mean that an IMCA-sanctioned driver ended up in victory lane.
It started as an “south of the border” IMCA-dominated race in the early years but as their top stars (Derr, Stott and Hutcherson) moved on to other sanctions of racing, it became much more of a northern dominated (Marzofka, Trickle) event. Still, it was as star-studded as they came. If you consider that three of the greatest short track drivers ever to get behind the wheel of a race car, Derr, Stott and Trickle, all have their name etched on that Northland 300 trophy. There aren’t many big-name race events that can boast of that worthy honor.