Race Weekend Central

Driven to the Past: Dick Trickle

From some notes on the internet, phone calls, and e-mails, I’m one of those who has learned that Dick Trickle is apparently having some chest and/or intestinal tract problems. The man himself, I’m told, isn’t worried; in fact, he’s told everyone things are fine. Trickle had a hip replacement recently, and the troubles started after that; a couple of stints haven’t cured it, but he still isn’t overly concerned.

In fact, just this week John McKarns (the man who founded ARTGO and directed it for so many years) informed me that Trickle says everything is now A-OK after a “million dollars” worth of tests. He’s feeling much better and is pretty much back to his regular routine; however, Trickle has confirmed that he won’t be racing as long as he is on a blood thinner.

I, along with thousands of others, were sincerely hoping it wasn’t serious; but I also realize that not being worried about it is pretty typical of the man. In the years I was with ASA, we became great friends, and even my wife (who could care less about racing) thinks he’s one of the greatest people who ever lived.

The whole thing made me think of the first time I met Trickle – when he first came to what was then the Dri-Power 400 at Winchester, Ind. with ASA. Of course, that led to an endless recollection of Trickle stories. Lots of folks have Trickle stories, and I’m no exception.

Once at I-70 Speedway near Odessa, Mo., we had a red flag in a preliminary race and all the cars were stopped on the front straightaway. Prior to the accident which brought out the red, Trickle had encountered a problem and was at the rear of the field.

Mike Miller, also a resident of Wisconsin Rapids, was leading the race at the time. He got out of his car, climbed the fence up to the flagstand and asked me if Trickle was a lap down. I told him he was.

“You promise?” Mike asked. I asked the tower, and they confirmed that Dick was, indeed, a lap down. I told Mike and asked him why it was so important. Relieved, he told me why: “Because now if he comes up behind me driving like a maniac, I’m going to let him go the first time!”

There was another time out there at I-70 when we were staying at a motel in Lexington, Mo., and everybody was having the usual good time around the pool, complete with adult beverages being consumed.

One thing led to another, and pretty soon people started getting tossed in the pool. Including yours truly, naturally.

Finally, a couple of us realized that Trickle was the only person present who hadn’t been in the pool yet. He was reclined on a chaise lounge, still in his driving uniform, and we decided it was time for him to get wet.

Dick responded by grabbing the side rails of the lounge and stating, “I ain’t gettin’ up!”

Well, faced with a challenge like this, we had to answer. About six good men got hold of the thing, and it, along with Trickle still hanging on, went into the pool.

The end result of this was that the next morning, Steve Stubbs of ASA and I were walking around after breakfast when the motel manager confronted us, and wanted to know just what happened on the previous evening.

We asked what he was talking about, and he pointed out the chaise lounge at the bottom of the pool.

“We didn’t do that,” was our response.

He then informed us that we were the only group staying at the motel, with the exception of a group of Baptists from Topeka.

Our advice to him? Simply that he not let those people come back anymore.

About the author

John has done it all in racing over the past half-century, filling every position from flagman, to track promoter, to award-winning newspaper editor all over the Midwest. Back with Frontstretch in 2014, John’s e-newsletter column Potts’ Shots appears every Thursday while he dips his toe in the site’s IndyCar coverage. John resides in Indianapolis.

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