Martinsville Pontiac Pit Notes - Rich Bickle

Pontiac Pit Notes Goody's Body Pain 500 Advance Martinsville Speedway April 17, 1999 Note: Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix driver Rich Bickle was one of five Pontiac drivers to post qualifying times in the top 11 Friday. Bickle qualified 11th and...

Pontiac Pit Notes Goody's Body Pain 500 Advance Martinsville Speedway April 17, 1999

Note: Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix driver Rich Bickle was one of five Pontiac drivers to post qualifying times in the top 11 Friday. Bickle qualified 11th and was among the fastest cars in this morning's practice session.

Bickle finished fourth in the fall race here last year. His team made a crew chief change earlier this week, replacing Phil Hamer with Bill Ingle, who won the fall race here heading Ricky Rudd's efforts last September.

RICH BICKLE (No. 45 Lucky Dog Pontiac Grand Prix): "This place reminds me of an old track back home named Lake Geneva that I started on. It's a super-tight cornered, half-mile where you really have to hug the line. It reminds me of that a lot. They didn't have a curb there, but I don't know what it is about this place why I run so well. I sat on the pole here in an All-Pro car. I won a truck race here and run well in the Cup cars here. I t's one of those tracks that's really a finesse place. I seem to get a pretty good handle on things here.

"I've got a setup under the car right now and I can drive that thing in the corner so far. I've never put a car like this to the mat and I can on this thing. It's coming off the corners so straight. I told the guys in practice this morning, 'I'm parking this thing because with my luck somebody will dump a motor in front of me and I'll wad it up.' The car right now is just incredible. I had 50-lap tires on this morning and I was running .20s and .30s."

YOU MADE A CREW CHIEF CHANGE THIS WEEK. DOESN'T LOOK LIKE THE TEAM HAS BE EN AFFECTED TOO NEGATIVELY BASED ON YOUR PERFORMANCE.

"Phil Hamer and I are best friends. I never expected this to happen like it did. The way he organized the shop and people and the way he had things going, that was the last thing I thought was going to happen. But at the race track, we struggled. It's been a hard week for me and him. It was something we had to do and that's business. That's the way you have to look at it. Unfortunately, it happened. This really isn't a good test for us. I ran well here last year and Bill was with Rudd and won the race. We should run good here. The Talladega deal is all based on air. Once we go to Michigan and places like that, for a span of six weeks, that's where we'll see if the change is going to work or not work. I don't want to get too excited too early."

WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE NEW PIT ROAD SITUATION HERE?

"I told the guys today right now we've got a car that can win this race. All we need is a little luck. I've got to be smart. I'll learn a lot about pit road during the truck race. I'd say it's all equal now. That's good."

YOU REALLY THINK YOU CAN WIN THIS RACE?

"Last year when I ran fourth I had a brake fluid recirculator valve go bad with about 80 laps to go. When I passed Gordon with 100 laps to go for second, I really thought I had something for Rudd. I was just on cruise. All I can say is, yeah, these tires are fast here this weekend, but this Pontiac is still a lot better than the car I had here last year."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle