By: Eric Huenefeld
The 2013 version of the National Short Track Championships will mark the end of an era.
The 48th installment of the annual Super Late Model race marks the final time that Rich Bickle will race at Rockford Speedway.
The 52-year old from Edgerton Wisconsin, who has competed in the highest levels of Stock Car Racing, has made it known that this season will be his last behind the wheel. However, just because Bickle is walking away does not mean he has slowed down.
This season, Bickle has raced all across the Midwest, along the way notching his fourth Slinger Nationals title while also pocketing the season ending 100 lap feature event at Madison International Speedway.
Bickle now returns to Rockford, one of the tracks that helped him get his start over 30 years ago. Last September, Bickle became a two-time winner of the National Short Track Championship, winning the 200 lap main event on Sunday afternoon twenty-two years after winning his first.
Back in 1990, Bickle out-dueled Georgia's Mike Garvey and South Carolina's Randy Porter for his first triumph in what was a 300 lap main event. In the years after, Bickle would begin to branch out in his racing ventures, eventually finding a home in NASCAR. Bickle competed in the NASCAR Cup, National Series and Truck Series, finding much success in the Truck series driving for the likes of Richard Petty and Darrell Waltrip.
In 2006, Bickle returned to the short tracks of the Midwest that he calls home. The veteran racer has competed in six of the seven National Short Track Championships since then, finally returning to victory lane last year. Bickle muscled past Brian Johnson Jr with 45 laps remaining to take the lead, then held off the furious late-race charge of 22 year old Casey Johnson while racing to the victory. Can Bickle win a second consecutive NSTC crown and third overall? Will the veteran racer leave Rockford Speedway a winner one final time?
The 48th Annual National Short Track Championships will take place Friday September 27th through Sunday September 29th at Rockford Speedway in Loves Park, IL. 14 divisions will be competing over the three days featuring Super Late Models, the Big 8 Late Model Series, Great Northern Sportsman Series, Mid-American Stock Car Series and much more.
Bickle and the rest of the Super Late Models will qualify and run qualifying races on Saturday, September 28th with the 200-lap National Short Track Championship taking place on Sunday afternoon September 29th
For more information, please call Rockford Speedway at 815-633-1500 or visit www.rockfordspeedway.com for competition guides, entry forms and more.
Make your plans now to be part of “One Great Racing Weekend!
This article was posted to the website on September 13th, 2013
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