Kansas: Rich Bickle preview

Bickle hopes to set off fireworks with good run at Kansas Kansas City, KS (July 2, 2003) - Kansas Speedway has proven to be a bit of a mystery for Rich Bickle, driver of the No. 15 VOKAL Clothing racing team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

Bickle hopes to set off fireworks with good run at Kansas

Kansas City, KS (July 2, 2003) - Kansas Speedway has proven to be a bit of a mystery for Rich Bickle, driver of the No. 15 VOKAL Clothing racing team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Bickle fought long and hard trying master the 1.5 mile tri-oval in his only Kansas Speedway start last year, only to fall victim to that dreaded aero push that so many NASCAR competitors lament. Bickle is determined to improve on the 13th place finish that he recorded during the 2002 season.

"I ran here last year and didn't do too bad, I got a Top 15 out of it," Bickle stated. "I think that lately we have been pulling together as a team and making changes that are moving us in the right direction. We've been finishing in the Top 15 and if things keep going the way that they are we'll just get better and better every race."

After an engine mishap at Milwaukee while running near the front of the pack exhausted his chances for a solid Top 10 run, Bickle and his crew are gearing up for a good showing at the Kansas Speedway. With a solid Gary Showalter prepared chassis under him, Bickle will buckle up and try and claim another top ten finish.

"The frustration of last weekend just makes us more eager to perform better. I thought that for sure we would have a great weekend when we went to Milwaukee, but then you can't get around those things happening to you. Kansas should be a good race for us. I have run these chassis at the intermediate tracks a couple of times already this year so I have a feeling for what it is going to handle like."

Bickle, short track extraordinaire, has yet to be satisfied with the runs that he has had at the intermediate tracks. With a 10th place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway in a Ford, Bickle hopes to keep his record for Top 10 finishes at the mile and a half ovals.

"Short tracks are where I started, and will always be where I'm the strongest," the Edgerton, WI native, says. "This year tenth has been my best finish on all the intermediate tracks that we visit and that is a respectable finish, but as a driver I always strive to do better. Every different track that we race at seems to teach me something new about myself or about the truck. I've only raced at Kansas once and had a Top 15 finish, this time around the track will teach me something different and hopefully I will be able to improve upon my previous finish and go away with a Top 10. You just have to take one step at a time."

As the third running of the race at Kansas Speedway approaches the No. 15 VOKAL Clothing team prepares to take the track and improve on its highest finish this year, which was a fifth place finish at Daytona. Bickle takes an optimistic view with him to the 1.5-mile tri-oval that his truck will run up front.

"You have to go into each race as a new day. You have to forget about what happened the previous weekend or even the previous year at the track and go into the race with an open mind. Gary (Showalter) and the guys have given me great trucks week in and week out; it just hasn't been our time yet. I think that this will be a good weekend for the No.15 VOKAL team coming out with at Top 5."

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series competitors invade the Kansas Speedway this weekend. Practice and qualifying sessions are slated for Friday July 4th and the NCTS Race is set for Saturday July 5th. The Speed Channel and MRN Radio will broadcast the event nationally at 2:00pm ET Saturday afternoon.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle