Bickle to Drive for Sacks at Martinsville

Bickle to drive No. 98 in Goody's 500 CONCORD, N.C. (April 13, 1998) Rich Bickle hopes to make his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series start this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in the Goody's Headache Powder 500, when he attempts to qualify as...

Bickle to drive No. 98 in Goody's 500

CONCORD, N.C. (April 13, 1998) Rich Bickle hopes to make his first NASCAR Winston Cup Series start this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in the Goody's Headache Powder 500, when he attempts to qualify as the substitute for the injured Greg Sacks in the No. 98 Thorn Apple Valley Ford.

Sacks, the regular driver of the No. 98 Taurus, was released from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas last Thursday afternoon after being involved in an accident in the Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Sacks stretched the nerves in his shoulder, causing numbness in his left arm.

"We certainly regret what happened to Greg, but I think Rich is capable of getting the job done for us," team owner CaleYarborough said. "Rich has a lot of experience at Martinsville and is strong on the short tracks."

Bickle won the Hanes 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville last September. To date, Bickle's greatest success has come in that series, where in 1997 he drove the No. 17 Sears DieHard Chevrolet owned by NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip to a second place finish in the point championship, earning four Bud Poles and three wins.

"I'm happy to have the opportunity to drive the car for Cale," Bickle said. "I just wish it was under different circumstances. I know my success at Martinsville last year had something to do with the decision. We'll be testing next week at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, and hopefully, we'll give the folks at Thorn Apple Valley a good run at Martinsville."

Bickle, the son of a short-track star, began his racing career on a motocross bike at age five. He eventually earned a 250cc title at age 16. In 1977, Bickle graduated to race cars and earned rookie of the year honors at two speedways. Throughout his racing career, Bickle has recorded more than 230 short track victories, competing against the likes of Dick Trickle and Rusty Wallace.

In Bickle, who has 35 NASCAR Winston Cup Series starts under his belt and an impressive short-track record, Yarborough is confident he picked the right man for the job.

At the time of his release from the hospital, Sacks had regained most of the feeling in his arm and said he was feeling 100 better physically, but Team Manager Marlene Emery said they were taking no chances with Sacks' health this weekend. Sacks stayed with friends in Dallas in the meantime, and will go back for a follow-up consultation and re-evaluation with specialists on Wednesday.

"The doctors don't want him to do anything that might strain those nerves," Emery said. "They have to heal, because right now they're not very strong. Martinsville's a demanding track, and that would obviously take a toll on Greg. We're glad to have Rich driving the car for us there."

Source: NASCAR Online

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Darrell Waltrip , Rusty Wallace , Greg Sacks