Rich Bickle on Pack Attack

HARRISBURG, NC (August 18, 1999) -- Growing up in Wisconsin, NASCAR Winston Cup driver Rich Bickle had a number of heroes. Included in that group was Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke. "I loved Ray Nitschke,...

HARRISBURG, NC (August 18, 1999) -- Growing up in Wisconsin, NASCAR Winston Cup driver Rich Bickle had a number of heroes. Included in that group was Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Nitschke. "I loved Ray Nitschke, he was one tough dude," said Bickle. "When the Packers were winning all those championships in the middle 1960s, Nitschke dominated on the defensive side of the ball. That's saying something considering how many great players the Packers had back then. I was just a kid at the time, but seeing Nitschke just blast guys really got to me. It made me a football fan and a Packers fan for life." Bickle's love for the Packers hasn't wavered over the past 30 years, sticking with the team through thick and thin. This week, Bickle will live out a lifelong dream when he will watch the Monday Night Football game between the Packers and the Denver Broncos from the Packers sidelines. A chance meeting with the Packers General Manager, Ron Wolf, produced the restricted area pass to the contest, which will be held at Camp Randall Stadium on the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. "I met Ron at the Dover (DE) Winston Cup race earlier this season," Bickle stated. "Of course, all I wanted to talk about was football. Ron was very gracious and told me if I ever wanted to attend a game, I should give him a call. It didnt take me long to get on that program. Being on the sidelines for a Packers game will be totally incredible. It's like allowing our biggest NASCAR fans to watch a race from pit road. To say I'm very excited about this is a huge understatement." Bickle has been a regular at Packers games whenever his racing schedule permits, attending the 1997 Super Bowl in New Orleans when Green Bay defeated the New England Patriots, 35-21. Last year, Bickle took time out from his Winston Cup duties to travel to a number of games. "The Super Bowl win was one of the greatest experiences of my life," said Bickle. "We had a great time. There was no way the Packers were going to lose that game. Last year, I went to three Monday Night games and the Packers lost all three. I was beginning to think I might have been a jinx or something. We still went to the playoffs and nearly made it back to the Super Bowl. I guess it just wasn't our year last year." Bickle, who drives the #45 10-10-345 Pontiac for Tyler Jet Motorsports in the Winston Cup ranks, will compete at Michigan Speedway Sunday, August 22, before heading for Madison and Monday's game. "While there's nothing like attending a game in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, I'm really excited about seeing the Packers play at Camp Randall," said Bickle, who grew up in Edgerton, WI, just 25 miles from the UW campus. "Madison is pretty much home for me and I'm sure I'll see a lot of friends there. I'm also excited to meet some of the Packers players. Brett Favre is my favorite Packer and I'm really hoping to meet him. He's into NASCAR as part owner of a Busch Grand National team. I'm sure there are a lot of other players who are into racing too. Man, I'm excited about this, I can't wait for kickoff." Monday's Green Bay-Denver game will be shown live on ABC television beginning at 8 p.m. EDT.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle