LAS VEGAS - From losing a young son to being on the brink of a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship in just his second season as a race-car driver, Las Vegas resident Chuck Trickle has been on an emotional roller coaster for the past few ...
LAS VEGAS - From losing a young son to being on the brink of a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship in just his second season as a race-car driver, Las Vegas resident Chuck Trickle has been on an emotional roller coaster for the past few Father's Days.
Five years ago, Chuck Trickle celebrated Father's Day as the proud dad of a healthy, young racing prodigy. One year later, Trickle was thankful his son was still alive. Chris, a 24-year-old Las Vegan, was recovering from a gunshot wound in the head from what police called a "random shooting" in Las Vegas on Feb. 9, 1997.
The following June, Trickle spent Father's Day without the young racer. Chris, a promising young driver on the NASCAR Southwest Tour, died on March 25, 1998 of lung complications stemming from the shooting he suffered while driving on state Route 160 13 months earlier.
Last year on the holiday weekend, Trickle celebrated his 55th birthday with the first victory of his racing career. Although the holiday was meant to honor fathers, this dad dedicated the special day to his late son.
"That first win was above and beyond what I thought I could do," Trickle said. "A win is always exciting. Chris wanted me to win. He pushed hard for me to win. He would be proud. I know he was in the car with me because I was very smooth. I drove the way he did."
This Saturday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's 3/8-mile paved oval Trickle could top that rookie-season win by taking a step closer to the NASCAR Late Model track championship. Trickle, brother of NASCAR Winston Cup legend Dick Trickle, is only two points behind Scott Gafforini in the track title chase and has been as high as third in the Sunbelt Region for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.
"I feel confident about racing now that I have let Chris out of my heart a little bit," Trickle said. "He is there all of the time, but I can't have him like I want him. Two weeks before I won that race last year, I changed my focus, and two weeks later I won a race."
Trickle had raced one full season in the mid-1990s but gave up the sport to help his son's career. He returned to the driver's seat last year in honor of his late son.
"My brother has won more races than anyone in the world," Trickle said. "Chris won a third of the races he was in. I always wanted to race but didn't start until late in life. It's the one thing in my life that makes me closer to Chris.
"My goal is to win the championship. Chris never won one. He won 31 percent of his races, but he never won a championship. I would like to take this one home for him."
Trickle will compete in two 25-lap main events Saturday night during Craftsman Night at the Races. Gates open at 5 p.m., and races start at 6. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and military and $2 for children 6-12. Children five and under are free. Family four pack is $25.