BUSCH: Another bad luck day for Bickle at Milwaukee Mile

WEST ALLIS, WI (July 3, 2000) - Rich Bickle stopped just short of saying he was jinxed at the Milwaukee Mile. "There's definitely something about this place and me," said Bickle after finishing 35th in the Sears DieHard 250 NASCAR Busch...

WEST ALLIS, WI (July 3, 2000) - Rich Bickle stopped just short of saying he was jinxed at the Milwaukee Mile. "There's definitely something about this place and me," said Bickle after finishing 35th in the Sears DieHard 250 NASCAR Busch Series event. "I seem to run well every time I come here only to have something go wrong. I'm not superstitious about anything, but I'm definitely starting to wonder if there's some higher power working against me here." Bickle had every right to question the latest in a long line of Milwaukee disappointments. After starting 25th in the 43-car field, Bickle charged his #91 Aqua Velva/Popeyes Chicken Pontiac into the Top-10 by Lap 85. "Fred Wanke (Bickle's crew chief) and the guys gave me another great car today," said Bickle, who had two-straight Top-5 finishes entering the Milwaukee event. "I kind of messed up my qualifying lap and we had to start pretty far back in the field. Once they threw the green flag, my car drove like it was on rails. We were able to slice our way through the field and I was really looking forward to getting to the front and racing for the lead." Running eighth just past the 100-lap mark, Bickle headed for pit road with the rest of the front-runners for fresh tires and fuel. The yellow-flag pit stop seemed to go smoothly and Bickle took the green flag with his sights set on the front. "I think I have a loose wheel or a flat tire," Bickle radioed his crew just after the restart. "I'm all over the place. We gotta come back in." Bickle pitted and his crew opted to torque all four wheels rather than change tires. Back on the track, the vibration persisted forcing the Edgerton, WI driver back to pit road a second time for a change of tires. "None of the wheels were loose and the none of the tires were flat," said Bickle. "The wheel weights fell off the left front tire and that's what caused the vibration. That hardly ever happens. The car was shaking so badly I couldn't drive it. Talk about bad luck." Finally back up to speed, Bickle now found himself down three laps to eventual winner Jeff Green. The final 130 circuits proved to be an exercise in frustration for Bickle as he had one of the fastest cars on the track only to be doomed to finish well down in the running order. "At one point, I was running behind the fourth-place battle between Elton Sawyer and Hank Parker," said Bickle. "I was way faster then they were and I just had to roll out and let them decide it. Fred was calling out my lap times and they were faster than the second-place car. It was tough to have to hold back, but it was the professional thing to do." Bickle earned $9,050 for the effort, but the money seemed to be little consolation for what might have been. "Wisconsin is home for me and you always want to be at your best in front of your family and friends," said Bickle. "They are used to seeing me run up front and win. I don't know if anyone had anything for Jeff Green today. He was pretty much in a different zip code than the rest of us, but I think we had the next best car in the race. I've won at every track I've ever raced at in Wisconsin except Milwaukee. Someday, we're going to change that. Today just wasn't our day." Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, MO will be next up for Bickle and his Bickle/Smith Motorsports team. The July 29 Carquest Auto Parts 250 NASCAR Busch Series event will be telecast live on The Nashville Network beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The event will also be broadcast on MRN radio.

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Rich Bickle , Jeff Green , Elton Sawyer