BUSCH: Darlington Rich Bickle Preview

MOORESVILLE, NC (March 13, 2000) - After a pair of frustrating weeks on the NASCAR Busch Series tour, Rich Bickle is anxious to head for Darlington Raceway and a date with "the track too tough to tame." "A lot of drivers will tell you...

MOORESVILLE, NC (March 13, 2000) - After a pair of frustrating weeks on the NASCAR Busch Series tour, Rich Bickle is anxious to head for Darlington Raceway and a date with "the track too tough to tame." "A lot of drivers will tell you they don't like Darlington, that it's too tough, too unforgiving," said Bickle, driver of the #91 Aqua Velva Pontiac. "I really like racing at Darlington because it is one of the most challenging tracks on the circuit. It's one of the few tracks left on the tour that makes the driver a bigger factor than the car. You still have to have a good car, but the driver really makes the difference at Darlington." Opened in 1950, the egg shaped 1.366-mile Darlington oval was billed as NASCAR's first superspeedway. Featuring tight turns and narrow straightaways, Darlington can devour a car quicker than you can say NASCAR Busch Series. "There's no margin for error at Darlington," said Bickle. "You run right up against the wall all the way around the track, so if you get loose going into a turn, you're in the wall. If you're tight coming off the turn, you're in the wall. If someone else wrecks in front of you, it's so narrow that there's no place to go and you wind up in the wall again. Let's face it, it you or anyone else makes a mistake, Darlington is going to make you pay for it." Bickle has struggled in his first 2000 Busch Series outings with his new Bickle/Smith Motorsports team missing the show at both Las Vegas and Atlanta. In each instance, the 38-year-old Edgerton, WI driver failed to qualify by scant two one-hundredths of a second. "You can't blink that fast," said Bickle of the microscopic margins. "I knew starting my own Busch team would be tough, but not making races by that margin is killer. It was easier than this to make races when I was over in the Winston Cup garage last year. As a new team, we knew going in we'd have our work cut out for us. Vegas and Atlanta proved that to us, but no one here is down. Everyone is really pulling their weight. We're looking forward to Darlington and a change in our luck." According to Bickle, handling will be the key to doing well in the Darlington 200 NBS event this weekend. "At Vegas, motor was king and at Atlanta, having a good aero package was the key to doing well," Bickle stated. "At Darlington, having a good handling car is critical. You have to be able to drive the car down into the corner and have it stick. The track is one of the most abrasive we run on, so keeping the tires under you is also important because they will fall off a second in the first 10 laps. I feel like we'll have the right package to do both this weekend. I have good experience here running the Southern 500 Winston Cup race a number of times and I ran my first Busch race here last fall qualifying 11th. We definitely need a boost after the last couple of weeks. I know a lot of guys are dreading going to Darlington, but I'm looking forward to it."

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rich Bickle