Indianapolis review

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 6, 2000) - Time, as in not enough of it, proved to be the big enemy for Rich Bickle and his quest to make the starting field for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We just ran out of time,"...

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 6, 2000) - Time, as in not enough of it, proved to be the big enemy for Rich Bickle and his quest to make the starting field for the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We just ran out of time," said Bickle, who attempted to steer the #61 Stoops Freightliner/IWX Motor Freight Chevrolet into the race. "I think if we'd have been able to get out on the track one more time before second-round qualifying, we would have been able to make the right changes and get into the field. Unfortunately, Jeremy Mayfield crashed and they had to cut off the rest of the practice to clean the track for qualifying. I'd have liked to get out there one more time, but it was more important at that point to make sure Jeremy was okay and the track was safe for everyone later." Bickle's second-round qualifying effort of 50.625 seconds was just a tick off the 50.455 mark needed to make the seventh-annual Brickyard event. The lap left Bickle, who has competed in four previous Brickyard classics, drained and dejected. "You put everything into making this race," said Bickle, who wound up 41st overall but did not make the 43-car starting grid because his Xpress Motorsports team did not have any provisional starting spots. "Everyone here worked their tails off to get ready for this race. To come up short is pretty depressing." After struggling through first-round qualifying, things went from bad to worse for Bickle as he brushed the wall exiting Turn 2 in the final practice Thursday. His bright red #61 Chevy was too badly damaged to continue forcing his IWX mates to prepare the back-up car for Friday's second-round qualifying session. "We could never get the push out of the front end of the first car," said Bickle. " At times, it felt like the front wheels weren't even on the ground. That can be pretty hairy when you are going into the turn at 200 miles per hour. We made some gains on it, but the push was all aerodynamic (body related) and you can only adjust the chassis so much to counter that. "I hated wrecking the primary car, but there was nothing I could do," Bickle continued. "It just aero pushed up the track and once I got into the marbles, there was no saving it. I was still pretty confident we could get into the race because the back-up car tested really well when we came here a couple of weeks ago." Bickle's optimism proved to be right on track as his secondary mount turned the faster speeds in Friday morning's practice. Unfortunately, Bickle came up just short two-tenths of a second short in second-round qualifying sending the Edgerton, WI driver home for the weekend. "Sure, I'm disappointed," said Bickle. "The Brickyard 400 is one of the biggest races of the season and every driver wants to be in the show. It's Indy and it doesn't get much bigger than that. When things don't go your way, you just have to move on and put it behind you. That's what I'm going to do. Our Bickle/Smith Motorsports Busch Series program is on the right track and we've got a race coming up at Michigan in two weeks. That's what I have to be focusing on now." Bickle's bright yellow Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits/Aqua Velva Chevrolet will take the green flag in the NAPAOnline 200 NASCAR Busch Series event at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 19. The race will be telecast by ESPN and broadcast by MRN radio beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time. "I'm looking forward to Michigan," said Bickle. "We had a great car at St. Louis last week and wrecked just 11 laps into the race when a heim joint broke in the front end. I've had more than my share of disappointments lately. It's time to have another Top-5 run and Michigan is just the place to do it."

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Jeremy Mayfield