MOORESVILLE, NC (February 5, 2003) - Greenlight Racing announced today that Rich Bickle will pilot the No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado in the Ford 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The effort will be a team truck...
MOORESVILLE, NC (February 5, 2003) - Greenlight Racing announced today that Rich Bickle will pilot the No. 07 Chevrolet Silverado in the Ford 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The effort will be a team truck to Bobby Dotter's No. 08 entry.
While Bickle has competed at Daytona in the ARCA, NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Series, this will be his first run in the Truck Series on the 2.5-mile superspeedway.
"I'm looking forward to racing at Daytona without a restrictor plate," said Bickle. "I remember going there as a kid to watch the Daytona 500 and seeing all the greats - Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough - just fly around there without restrictor plates. I've always wanted to do that and now I'll have a chance, thanks to Greenlight Racing, team owner Gene Christensen, engine builder Carl Wegner and Bobby Dotter."
Bickle is one of NASCAR's most versatile drivers posting 85 Winston Cup, 53 Busch Series and 58 Truck Series career starts since making his NASCAR debut in the fall Winston Cup race at Charlotte in 1989.
The Edgerton, WI native entered the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1996 behind the wheel of the No. 43 Richard Petty Dodge and paid immediate dividends giving the Dodge brand its first NASCAR pole position in more than 20 years. Bickle joined forces with Darrell Waltrip's truck team a year later and steered to three NCTS victories and a second-place finish in the final 1997 NCTS championship standings.
Bickle competed in six NCTS events in 2002 posting a season-best, sixth-place finish at Memphis, TN in June. In all, Bickle has 21 Top-5 NCTS finishes (38 percent) and 31 Top-10 efforts (53 percent) in just 58 career starts.
Bickle has seven career starts at Daytona making his Daytona debut in the 1989 ARCA Permatex 200 driving a car he purchased from Dale Earnhardt. After qualifying fifth, Bickle was leading late in the race only to get caught up in a multi-car crash and finish 29th. A year later, Bickle made his first Daytona 500 start qualifying a home-built car for the race. Bickle's best Daytona finish came in 1995 when he rolled to a fifth-place effort in the Goody's 300 NASCAR Busch Series event.
"I've raced just about everything at Daytona, with both good and bad results" said Bickle. "It's a great place to race. Every driver wants to compete at Daytona. While testing showed the Chevrolets to be at a little technical disadvantage compared to the Dodges and the Fords, we're confident this truck will race well. It's actually a chassis that I raced when I drove for Darrell Waltrip and Jason Small finished seventh with the same truck at Daytona last year. Carl Wegner is handling the engine program and he always gives me great stuff, so we're going to Daytona looking for a Top-10 finish."
Bickle also indicated Greenlight Racing is looking for sponsorship help for the Daytona event and the 2003 NCTS season.
"We're going to Daytona with a blank truck hoping someone will recognize the potential of this deal," said Bickle. "Right now, we're just looking at a one-race deal, but depending how things go at Daytona, we'd like to be able to attract a marketing partner for both my truck and Bobby's truck. Bobby has proven to be a great veteran of the Truck Series and has had a lot of success in the past. With the right kind of partner, he could win races and finish in the Top-10 in points this season.
"I've won races in the Truck Series and just missed winning the championship in 1997. That experience, along with the right kind of backing, could be prove to be very advantageous for a company looking to tap into the NASCAR marketing machine this season."
The 2003 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season will take the green flag Friday, February 14, at Daytona International Speedway. The 1 p.m. event will be telecast live on The Speed Channel and will be broadcast worldwide on MRN Radio.