Martinsville II: Rich Bickle preview

MOORESVILLE, NC (October 15, 2003) - It's no secret that Rich Bickle loves short track racing. Bickle is considered a legend across the Midwest where he dominated one bullring after another in his long and illustrious career. When Bickle came...

MOORESVILLE, NC (October 15, 2003) - It's no secret that Rich Bickle loves short track racing. Bickle is considered a legend across the Midwest where he dominated one bullring after another in his long and illustrious career. When Bickle came south to compete against NASCAR's best he took an immediate liking to Martinsville Speedway.

"What's not to like about Martinsville -- it's a short track," Bickle said. "After racing at 172 of them you start to figure them out. Martinsville is a finesse racetrack and a place where the driver can still make a difference. In this day and age at a lot of the racetracks we go to, the driver makes up about ten percent of the equation. At Martinsville the driver still makes up about 40 percent of the equation. You still have a decent chance to make an impact behind the wheel.

Bickle has had several strong efforts at the .526 mile Virginia oval. He finished eighth in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series spring race and knows that this venue offers him an excellent chance for success. His Billy Ballew Motorsports team usually sees its best finishes with Bickle behind the wheel.

"We had a really good run going at Martinsville in the spring until we got into an incident with about 30 laps to go or we might have had an outstanding finish," Bickle said. In 1997 we went up there for the truck race and sat on the pole and won the race so I am optimistic that we can put up a good fight. A lot really depends on the circumstances that play out during the course of the race. You try and drive the track as smoothly as you can and hope that no one gets inpatient when they're near you. You have to save the tires and hope that you are in position to get a good finish at the end."

Billy Ballew Motorsports has experimented with several different drivers over the past few races. For team owner Billy Ballew, putting Bickle in the seat is a quick fix. He knows that Bickle is as consistent as any driver that has competed in his equipment.

"Rich has always done a great job for me," Ballew says. "Whenever we get in a situation where we need someone to pick us up Rich is always right there. He always runs great at Martinsville and Gary Showalter and all the guys on this team enjoy having him behind the wheel of the VOKAL Ford. He is so smooth on these short tracks and he gets the best out of his equipment."

The Advance Auto Parts 200 is set for Saturday October 18th at 12:30 pm ET. The race will be broadcast live nationally by the Speed Channel and MRN Radio.

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Rich Bickle