By Phil Hall
West Chester, Ohio (April 2, 1978) – For Dick Trickle, waiting paid off and for Rodney Combs a weight cost him a possible win in the American Speed Association’s season opening April Foolin’ 100 at Queen city Speedway on Sunday afternoon.Trickle, of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., started fourth in the 24-car field and never fared worse than fourth place but was unable to get his 1977 Firebird into the lead.
Meanwhile combs, from nearby Mason, was giving the local fans something to cheer about on a chilly afternoon by showing Trickle and the rest of the field the fast route around the half-mile, high-banked paved oval. Combs led for 55 circuits, until a weight off another car, damaged the front end of his 1977 Camaro, causing him to spin and taking him out of competition.
Trickle took over the lead and held it to the finish but not without some close competition.
Nineteen-year-old Mark Martin of Batesville, Ark., the fastest of five drivers who timed in under Trickle’s old qualifying mark, finished second, giving Trickle a run for his money until fading late and finishing three-car-lengths back at the finish.
Ed Hoffman of Niles, Ill., turned in the best performance of them all, starting 17th in the field, and then working his 1977 Camaro methodically through the field. Hoffman claimed third on lap 88, then closed in on Martin towards the end, finishing a car length behind at the checkered.
ASA newcomer Dick Anderson of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., nosed his 1977 Camaro into the lead from his outside front row starting position. While others fought for position, Anderson quickly built up a healthy margin between himself and the rest of the field.
Combs, who started third, took over second place on lap 10, then proceed to narrow the gap between himself and Anderson, who had a comfortable 10-car-length-lead by then. But Combs would cut Anderson’s margin by a car length on lap 19, and on coming out of the second turn on lap 21, took over the top spot. Trickle also got around Anderson a lap later and Joe Shear of South Beloit, Ill., got around the Sunshine state racing veteran on lap 23 with Mark Martin right behind.
Trickle would make a couple of serious bids for the lead on lap 58 and 71 but each time, a lapped car blocked his path.
On lap 74, the yellow waved for the stalled car of Butch Miller of Lawton, Mich., in the second turn. When racing resumed on lap 77, Combs hit the weight off another car in turn four, causing him to spin at the start of the front straightaway and kept the yellow out while his car was removed.
Combs departure gave Trickle the lead for the first time which he held to the end. Following Trickle, Martin, and Hoffman to the finish line were Dick Anderson and John Anderson of Massillon.
1. Dick Trickle, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
2. Mark Martin, Batesville, Ark.
3. Ed Hoffman, Niles, Ill.
4. Dick Anderson, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
5. John Anderson, Massillon, Ohio
6. Mark Malcuit, Strasburg, Ohio
7. Mike Eddy, Kawkawlin, Mich.
8. Joe Shear, South Beloit, Ill.
9. Ray Young, Dolton, Ill.
10.Don Gregory, Columbus, Ohio
11.Dave Roahrig, Plymouth, Ind.
12.Jim Cushman, Mt. Vernon, Ohio
13.Jerry Mitchell, Columbus, Ohio
14.Larry Schuler, Lockport, Ill.
15.Ron Sense, Clinton, Ohio
16.Don Rand, Grand Rapids, Mich.
17.Butch Miller, Lawton, Mich.
18.Ken Tingwald, Milwaukee
19.Rodney Combs, Mason, Ohio
20.Ted Johnson, Columbus, Ohio
21.Bob Senneker, Dorr, Mich.
22.Randy Sweet, Raymond, Ind.
23.Bobby Dotter, Chicago
24.Bob Sensiba, Middleville, Ohio