Saturday, May 6, 2023

1979 - Trickle Wins Milwaukee's Superamerica 150

Dick Trickle ended a long wait for a victory at Milwaukee with a win in the Superamerica 150. Trickle is joined in victory lane by Richard Jones, president of Superamerica, Inc., and Trickle’s wife, Darlene. – Brian Norton Collection 

West Allis, Wis. (May 6, 1979) – Dick Trickle ended years of frustration at Wisconsin State Fair Park Speedway, Sunday afternoon, by edging fellow Wisconsin Rapids driver Mike Miller to win the second annual Superamerica 150 for American Speed Association late models.

It was Trickle’s first career victory in 20 tries on the one-mile paved oval, which he called, “the most prestigious track in Wisconsin.” He had started 24 USAC races and one ASA race, here, prior to Sunday’s event.

“I wanted to win this so badly. To a Wisconsin driver, winning here has to be the most important race he drives in this state,” Trickle said.

A crowd of 15,465 contributed to the event’s purse of $33,725, of which Trickle took home $4,725.

Rick Knotts came in third and was followed by Bob Senneker, last year’s Superamerica 150 winner, and defending ASA king Mark Martin.

Trickle opened the contest from his sixth starting position on the 40-car grid with Randy Sweet starting n the pole position by virtue of his record 31.217 second qualifying speed (115.322 miles per hour) in Saturday’s time trials. Sweet’s performance erased Mark Martin’s year-old standard of 31.454 seconds,

However, Sweet never led the race. Fellow front row starter Mike Eddy got the jump on Sweet at the outset and paced the opening round. Despite a early caution, eddy managed to open up a three-second advantage over Sweet and the rest of the field by lap 16.

Meanwhile, Knotts yielded third to Trickle on lap 14 and dropped back to fifth behind Miller on the following circuit.

Trickle and Miller advanced to second and third, respectively, by passing Sweet on lap 20. Sweet surrendered fourth place to Knotts two laps later. Eight miles later, Martin also got by Sweet to annex fifth place.

Steve Seligman basted the wall between turns three and four to bring the race under caution on lap 32 through 35. After the green flag returned, the running order of the leaders remained unchanged through43 when Terry Senneker brought out the yellow once again.

Trickle surged into the lead when the green flag waved on lap 47 but he had to forfeit first place back to Eddy because the engine in Pat Schauer’s car gave way before the completion of the lap, resulting in an extension of the caution period through lap 51.

With Trickle unable to repeat his quick start when racing resumed on lap 52, Eddy remained out front and built a slight advantage over Trickle and Miller while Knotts, Martin, and Sweet battled for fourth. Sweet eventually took over the fourth spot, passing Martin on lap 54 and Knotts four laps later. Martin then moved ahead of Knotts on the 63rd mile.

Sweet’s day ended on lap 70 when a blown tire sent his Camaro into the frontstretch wall. With the yellow flag out, most of the leaders decided to pit, with Eddy officially relinquishing the top spot for the first time when he came in. Trickle also came in, allowing Miller to claim first place.

Miller pitted the next time around, turning over first place to Alan Kulwicki, who had pitted on lap 34 during the caution for Seligman.

While most of the top contenders pitted twice during the slowdown for Sweet’s mishap, Knotts, Martin, and Trickle stopped only once each.

“We figured out how to change three tires at one time,” Trickle said. “Originally, my guys wanted to change the right front tire and come back and change the others. I said I wanted to change all three of them at the same time.”

When the field aligned for the resumption of the green flag, Kulwicki was followed by Knotts, Martin, and Trickle.

The green flag was displayed and Knotts gained the upper hand by passing Kulwicki. Martin and Trickle immediately advanced to second and third, respectively, and Eddy passed Shear and Kulwicki the next time around to move into fourth place. Shear also moved around Kulwicki on ap 84 to take over fifth.

Trickle advanced to second on lap 86, and then using the low groove, charged past Knotts for the lead on lap 90. Eddy followed Trickle’s example and also passed Martin and Knotts and settled into second a few laps later.

Miller vaulted back into the top-five by passing shear on lap 95 and pulled ahead of Martin two laps later.

Eddy pressured Trickle for the lead until lap 110 when a malfunctioning rocker arm forced him to the sidelines.

The caution banner flew again on lap 117 when Kulwicki brushed the third turn wall. When the green came back out, Miller surged ahead of Knotts to annex second.

Miller then went low in an effort to pass Trickle, but a strong surge of power enabled Trickle to regain the upper hand. Miller got another opportunity to close in on Trickle on lap 131 when Terry Senneker socked the fourth turn wall, triggering a caution period which extended through the 136th mile.

Making certain not to give Miller an opening to the inside, Trickle easily remained in front on the restart. Miller drew within two car lengths of the pacesetter on lap 145 but Trickle displayed another burst of speed to sew up the win.

“I knew I had to keep the front end in, the nose tucked in close. I couldn’t let Miller get under me,” Trickle said.

Results –

1. Dick Trickle
2. Mike Miller
3. Rick Knotts
4. Bob Senneker
5. Mark Martin
6. Danny Byrd
7. Dave Watson
8. Larry Detjens
9. Joe Shear
10.Ed Hoffman
11.Tom Reffner
12.Fred Bender
13.Butch Miller
14.Tom Jones
15.Larry Schuler
16.John Reimer
17.Terry Bivins
18.John Ziegler
19.Ed Baer
20.Dave Evans
21.Russ Peterson
22.Ray Young
23.Dave Chase
24.Billy Kuhn
25.Terry Senneker

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