Rich Bickle Talladega race notes

TALLADEGA, AL (October 15, 2000) - Rich Bickle returned to the NASCAR Winston Cup ranks this weekend posting a 21st-place finish in the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Driving Joe Bessey's No. 60 Powerteam Chevrolet Monte Carlo,...

TALLADEGA, AL (October 15, 2000) - Rich Bickle returned to the NASCAR Winston Cup ranks this weekend posting a 21st-place finish in the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Driving Joe Bessey's No. 60 Powerteam Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Bickle ran as high as fourth in the thrilling event that produced three-and four-wide racing throughout the race on the high-banked 2.66-mile Talladega track. "It was pretty wild out there, especially the final five laps," said Bickle. "It seemed like we were three-and four-wide all day long. A lot of times, you just had to sit and ride because you were locked in by cars in front, back and on each side of you." Bickle started his black and red Powerteam Chevy 28th in the 43-car field after posting a lap of 186.036 miles per hour in Friday's qualifying session. At the start of Sunday's race, Bickle's 82nd career Winston Cup effort, the 39-year-old Edgerton, WI native looked to find a comfortable spot to ride. "The car wanted to push up off the corner all day," Bickle stated. "If I tried to run the bottom groove, the car would just bog down and not get up off the turn. If I ran the top groove, it would push up and I'd be fighting to keep it off the wall. We didn't really have much choice other than to run in the middle. The car seemed to hook up there and we could draft up to the leaders pretty well." Bickle had a close call with about 40 laps left in the 188-circuit affair when he was nearly crashed by eventual winner Dale Earnhardt. "I was down on the bottom heading into Turn 1 and Earnhardt drives in under the yellow line," said Bickle. "I had Rusty (Wallace) out side me and I couldn't move up. My spotter told me Earnhardt was down there and I tried to give him some room, but when we got to the corner, his car just shot up into mine and body slammed me. That sent me right up into Rusty and I nearly wrecked him. I can't believe we saved it and I can't believe Earnhardt was doing that kind of stuff at that point of the race." A late caution with 15 laps to go bunched the field for a final dash to the finish. According to Bickle, there are few sensations like the closing circuits of a restrictor-plate race at Talladega. "I just wish the fans could somehow ride out the final five laps at Talladega sometime," said Bickle. "It's pretty terrifying. You're running 200 miles per hour just inches apart from 25 other cars and everyone is looking for a spot to move into. Everyone is darting around and you're trying to make holes for yourself. It gets pretty crazy because you can go from fifth to 25th in a lap. You want to race, but you've always got your eyes wide open looking out for the big wreck to happen." Bickle managed to avoid that Sunday only to be caught up in a wild melee after taking the checkered flag. "Everyone was shuffling around on those last laps and we wound up 21st," said Bickle, who earned $52,160 for the effort. "That was disappointing considering that we ran pretty well and stayed out of trouble all day long. Then we get past the start finish line and all heck breaks loose. I guess John Andretti ran into us and a couple of other guys and all of a sudden there's smoke everywhere and we're all spinning. Fortunately, we were able to keep the car out of the fence. The spin blew out all four times, the inner liners too, but the car wasn't busted up and that was the main thing. Still, it was pretty unbelievable that we wrecked when the race was over after avoiding that kind of thing all day long." Next up for Bickle will be a doubleheader weekend at North Carolina Speedway October 21-22. Bickle will pilot his own Bickle/Smith Motorsports No. 91 Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits/Aqua Velva Pontiac in the NASCAR Busch Series Sam's Club 200 at Rockingham Saturday before again strapping on the No. 60 Powerteam Chevy for Sunday's Pop Secret Microwave Popcorn 400 Winston Cup clash at "The Rock." Saturday's NBS event on the 1.017-mile Rockingham oval will take the green flag at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and will be telecast live on The National Network (TNN). Sunday's Winston Cup race will also be telecast live by TNN at 12:30 P.M. Eastern time. The event will also be webcast live on the Internet by TNNRacing.com. Both Saturday's and Sunday's Rockingham events will be broadcast as they happen by MRN radio and it's more than 400 affiliate stations worldwide.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , John Andretti , Rich Bickle