Monday, February 1, 2021

Dick Trickle - Five Feature Wins in 24 Hours

Dick Trickle  
(Keith Vercauteren Collection)

by Lee Ackerman
Omaha, Neb. - “The White Knight” Dick Trickle of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., will go down in auto racing history as perhaps the greatest short track driver of all time. 

It is believed Trickle scored over 1,200 wins in his illustrious career and if you wonder how a driver can have that many wins just go back to August of 1979 and the third annual ARTGO Racing Summer Nationals where in less than 24 hours Trickle posted five feature wins against some tough competition.

It started out on a Saturday night at the Dells Motor Speedway in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., and it started with Trickle losing the only thing he lost within those 24 hours when Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., outqualified Trickle, posting a new track record of 13.927 seconds. Trickle was right behind in second with a lap of 14.020.

Three 15-lap consolation events were run with Tom Musgrave of Grand Marsh, Wis., winning the first over Don Miller and Ken Lund. Dave Roahrig of Inwood, Ind., took the second consolation event over Randy Sweet and Joel Laufer. John Ziegler of Madison, Wis., took the third consolation beating Willie Goeden and Doug Kline.

Then in the first 75-lap feature Trickle wrestled the lead away from Bob Senneker of Dorr, Mich., on lap 44 and stayed out front to take his first win of the Summer Nationals. Senneker finished second, John Ziegler finished third, Tom Reffner of Rudolph, Wis., was fourth and Randy Sweet of Kalamazoo, Mich., rounded out the top five.

They ran two 20-lap semi features with Tom Jones of Northbrook, Ill., winning the first over Roger Paul and A. J. Anderson. Joe Kryzkowski of Sherry, Wis., took the second semi followed by Don Turner and Leonard Reimer.

In the second 75-lap main event it took Trickle until lap 57 to pass Jim Sauter of Necedah, Wis., for the top spot and drive on to victory #2. Mike Miller, also of Wisconsin Rapids finished second, Sauter third, Mark Martin fourth, Tom Reffner fifth, Ted Musgrave sixth, Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., seventh, Marv Marzofka of Nekoosa, Wis., eighth, Pat Schauer of Watertown, Wis., ninth and Randy Sweet tenth. Also in the feature were Butch Miller of Lawton, Mich., Bob Senneker and Larry Detjens of Wausau, Wis.

On Sunday afternoon it was off to the Capital Super Speedway in Oregon, Wis., where Trickle started the day off with a new track record in qualifying of 18.376 seconds.

When the green flag dropped on the first of three 50-lap events it was Randy Sweet putting his Camaro out front and trying to open a healthy lead, but the pack stuck with him. By lap 20, Trickle who started in the fifth row was up to third and by lap 26 was by Sweet for the lead and then went non-stop with no cautions waving for his first win of the day.

Butch Miller finished second, Randy Sweet third, Bob Senneker fourth, Joe Shear fifth, Tom Reffner sixth, John Ziegler seventh, Mark Martin, Larry Detjens ninth and Jim Sauter tenth.

Two 15-lap consolation events were contested with Jerry Kemperman of Blue Island, Ill., winning the first over Willie Goeden and Leonard Reimer. Joel Laufer of Hartford, Wis., took the second consolation over Roger Paul and Ken Lund.

Then it was time for the second 50-lap feature, and it was Larry Detjens taking the lead as the green dropped. Detjens stayed out front until lap 16 when two-time Summer Nationals champions Joe Shear put Dave Evans Camaro on the point. Shear’s lead lasted until lap 32 when the White Knight roared to the front and stayed out front to take Starter Bill Oronley’s checkered flag and post his second feature win of the day.

Following Trickle were Joe Shear, Randy Sweet, Bob Senneker, Tom Reffner, Larry Detjens, Jim Sauter, Dave Watson of Milton, Wis., Frank Gawlinski of Lynwood, Ill., with Steve Burgess of Eau Claire, Wis., rounding out the top 10.

A 20-lap semi was then run with John Speer of Janesville, Wis., taking the win over Bob Jusola and Leonard Reimer.

Finally, it was time for the third and last 50-lap feature event. When the green fell on the 21-car starting field it was Dave Watson taking the point from his outside front row starting position. By lap 20, guess who, Dick Trickle was on Watson’s rear bumper and on lap 27 the White Knight went to the front and held on for his fifth feature win in 24 hours.

Following Trickle to the line were Dave Watson, Larry Detjens, Randy Sweet, Bob Senneker, Joe Shear, John Ziegler, Jim Sauter, Ray Young of Dolton, Ill., and Frank Gawlinski.

The two shows drew nearly 80 different late model drivers with the 60-car field at the Dells Motor Speedway an all time ARTGO Racing record. The amazing part of this story is the number of quality drivers that were in the field. Many drivers went on to compete in NASCAR and if a list of the greatest paved short track drivers were compiled, many on that list were in attendance at these two great short track events. 

The White Knight is gone as are other great drivers from these two events but their accomplishments on the short tracks of America leave us with many great memories and a wealth of racing history.

1 comment:

  1. Knew Dick when he ran Grundy County Speedway on Friday nights, Illiana Speedway on Saturdays and Dells on Sunday. (If memory hasn't left me totally) Great guy.