Rick Bickle Watkins Glen Preview

HARRISBURG, NC (Aug. 10, 1999) Rich Bickle is a noted short-track stock car racer with more than 240 small oval victories to his credit. Given that record, it might seem a bit unusual that Watkins Glen International, a twisting 11-turn road...

HARRISBURG, NC (Aug. 10, 1999) Rich Bickle is a noted short-track stock car racer with more than 240 small oval victories to his credit. Given that record, it might seem a bit unusual that Watkins Glen International, a twisting 11-turn road course, is one of his favorite tracks on the NASCAR Winston Cup tour. "There are few places as fun to race as Watkins Glen," stated Bickle, driver of the #45 10-10-345 Pontiac. "You have just about everything youd ever want in a racetrack there - tight turns, wide open turns, elevation changes. Its a great track with a lot of history behind it. I really enjoy racing there." Bickle debuted at Watkins Glen in 1996, driving the Richard Petty Dodge to a seventh-place qualifying run and a fifth-place finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race there. "It's not like I took to the place right away," Bickle stated. "I was pretty green as a road racer and I was all over the place, wheel hopping the truck in practice. Fortunately, I adapted pretty quick and we were able to get a great finish that weekend." Bickle made his first Winston Cup start at The Glen last year wheeling the Cale Yarborough Ford to a 22nd-place effort after starting 29th. "The competition is definitely much tougher in Winston Cup no matter what track youre racing at," said Bickle. "We were actually pretty pleased with our effort there last year because we didn't really have a great car. We finished on the lead lap and any time you do that at Watkins Glen, you've accomplished something." According to Bickle, patience and a fast car are the keys to a good day at Watkins Glen. "Turn 1 is a real wake up call because you carry so much speed into a hard right-hander," said Bickle. "Then its up through the gears into the "S" turns before youre on the gas hard down the long straight leading into the inner loop. Then you have a very tough 180-degree turn before you're back on the throttle to a very tough left-hander in Turn 10. If you get off the track there, or back in the 180-degree turn, you can get in a lot of trouble in a hurry. Same thing with the inner loop where they have put sand traps in. Get stuck in there and youre cooked. "The final turn, a right-hander heading back into the main straight, is really critical. If you don't get off the turn good there, you're going to get freight-trained down the front stretch. You really have to be smooth at Watkins Glen, but you have to be fast as well." This year's Frontier at The Glen will begin with qualifying on Friday, August 13. Sunday's 90-lap event will take the green flag at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) and will be telecast live on ESPN.

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rich Bickle , Richard Petty , Cale Yarborough