Brickyard 400 Rich Bickle Review

BICKLE PHILOSOPHICAL ABOUT BRICKYARD 400 DISAPPOINTMENT HARRISBURG, NC (August 9, 1999) "It's very disappointing knowing that we just loaded a Top-10 car on the trailer." Thats how Tyler Jet Motorsports driver Rich Bickle...

BICKLE PHILOSOPHICAL ABOUT BRICKYARD 400 DISAPPOINTMENT

HARRISBURG, NC (August 9, 1999) "It's very disappointing knowing that we just loaded a Top-10 car on the trailer." Thats how Tyler Jet Motorsports driver Rich Bickle reacted after he and his 10-10-345 Pontiac failed to qualify for the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Winston Cup event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We have been on such a strong run the last 10 races and to have this happen was completely unexpected," said Bickle. "People in the garage area are stunned we didnt make the race. I guess I am too." Bickle and the Tyler Jet crew headed for Indianapolis full of confidence after gaining 15 spots in the point standings in the last nine Winston Cup events. Included in that string was a seventh-place effort - a season-best for the team - in the most recent event on the tour at Pocono, PA. The drop of the green flag on practice for the Brickyard 400, however, had the team searching for answers. "We tested the car two weeks ago at Indy and left there with the third-fastest car," said Bickle. "We didn't touch the car other than to put a special paint job on it for the race. When we got back here to the Speedway, there was definitely something wrong with the car. It just wouldn't turn and was really difficult to drive." With just over two hours of practice time available before qualifying, the 10-10-345 crew scrambled to correct the problem. Despite multiple changes, the problem persisted saddling Bickle with a 34th-place qualifying run on the opening day of time trials. "The crew went over the car again after qualifying and it picked up right away in Friday's morning practice session," said Bickle. "We were third quick on the sheet, but our times and everyone elses really fell off as the day got hotter and the track got slicker. When it came time to decide to requalify or stand on our time, the decision to all of us was a clear one stand on our time. Everyone was going slower because of the hot track conditions. We never dreamed three cars that were way slower than us in practice would pick up enough speed to beat us. On the other hand, the one car we would thought might beat us, Ernie Irvan, fell off and qualified 42nd. That took the provisional we thought we had as a back-up. How that all fell in place like that is still beyond me. It was a real fluke. I know in my heart that if wed have made the race, we would have been a Top-10 car." Despite not qualifying for the event, Bickle returned to the track to help entertain a group of 10-10-345 VIP guests on raceday. There, he told the group the disappointment of the previous day was just a slight turn in the road. "We're going to bounce back from this," said Bickle. "I know everyone was disappointed yesterday, but I can tell you weve all put that behind us and were already looking forward to Watkins Glen next week. Im confident well be back up front there just like we were two weeks ago at Pocono."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Ernie Irvan