Rich Bickle Sears Point Preview

Practice makes perfect, or at least that what Rich Bickle hopes will be the end result when he takes to the twisting 10-turn, 1.949-mile Sears Point (CA) Raceway road course this weekend. "Ive worked my tail off learning to be a better...

Practice makes perfect, or at least that what Rich Bickle hopes will be the end result when he takes to the twisting 10-turn, 1.949-mile Sears Point (CA) Raceway road course this weekend. "Ive worked my tail off learning to be a better road course driver," said Bickle, a noted short-track oval specialist. There are a lot of physical things you have to learn, but it might be more difficult to learn the mental subtleties of road racing. I have gotten so obsessed by it that I even practice in my street car. You can visualize the racing line and your braking points while you are out running everyday errands. Like I said, it is a mental process. There is a definite discipline and pace you have to maintain in order to be successful on a road course. If you can do that, you can get a good finish." Bickle has also tested extensively for Sundays SaveMart/Kragen 350, an event that will mark the fourth time he has raced at the Sonoma, CA track. Bickle debuted at the track in a 1996 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race. Driving the Richard Petty owned Dodge, Bickles first Sears Point lesson proved to be a hard one crashing violently. "That might have been one of the hardest hits Ive ever taken," said Bickle. I just got the right-rear wheel a hair off the track and thats all it took to send me off course and into a concrete barrier. I learned to have a lot of respect for Sears Point that day." Bickle returned to Sears Point with the Truck Series in 1997 finishing 12th after an incident with another truck ruined a sure Top-5 effort. Last year, Bickle drove the #98 Cale Yarborough Ford to a 31st-place finish in his first Winston Cup appearance at the track. "We didnt really have a great car last year," said Bickle. "They also changed the track eliminating a couple of turns. The initial thought was that would create better racing, but it actually gave you less places to pass on the track. If you didnt start toward the front, there was little chance of moving up." Bickle feels his chances of a good finish are much better this year than in the past. Ive got more experience this time around, said Bickle, who will pilot the 10-10-345 Pontiac in the event. " We tested for this event at Road Atlanta a couple of weeks ago," Bickle stated. "It was a very good session. The Tyler Jet Motorsports car we will be racing is better than anything I have ever had for a road course event. The extra testing, along with my added experience at both Sears Point and Watkins Glen, should also work in our favor. Im a lot more comfortable competing on road courses now."

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Richard Petty , Cale Yarborough