WEST SALEM, WI - The name Dick Trickle continues to buzz around short tracks because of his career and personality.
Trickle simply was the best at his craft and continues to have a solid fan base as his spirit shines over the 52nd annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, WI.
The Super Late Model event has become one of the more popular events at Fest with continuous solid car counts and filled grandstands, as both competitors and fans want their opportunity to salute the legend.
The creation of the event was the idea of a great promoter with the blessing from the famed driver.
In 2007, John McKarns, president of the ARTGO Challenge Series and Oktoberfest promoter, approached his long-time friend about the idea of having a race named after him. Trickle, from Wisconsin Rapids and the driver of his iconic No. “99” race car, was very open to the idea and felt that Oktoberfest would be the proper place to have an event named after him. He gladly gave his blessing to McKarns to go ahead with it.
McKarns didn’t want it to be a typical race, he wanted to have something unique that fans haven’t seen in the Midwest. That idea was something he saw at another track, the famous Milk Bowl event at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT.
It was in 1962, when track promoter and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier came up with this event as a unique way to end their racing season. The Milk Bowl is broken into three, 50-lap segments with inverts in each segment. The overall winner would get a glass of milk for their victory and was expected to kiss a cow.
McKarns was intrigued by the idea and had a few ideas of his own to make this a memorable event not just for the fans, but for the participants as well. An idea that Trickle was on board with and wanted to compete in the first event himself.
With Trickle’s approval, McKarns reached out to Squier and Tom Curley, who both owned and promoted Thunder Road and asked for their permission to take their Milk Bowl idea and come up with the Dick Trickle “99”. Squier and Curley graciously gave McKarns their blessing and the first event was held in 2007.
The event was an immediate success as fans were able to get scorecards and keep their own score throughout the three segments. The format is simple. Each driver competing in the Dick Trickle “99” earns points in each 33-lap segment. The winner gets one point, second place two points, etc. After the three segments are complete, the driver with the lowest overall points is declared the overall winner.
Trickle competed in it and finished 18th. This would be the last year he would get behind the wheel of a stock car. His final race he competed in at Oktoberfest was the 2007 ARCA Midwest Tour 100 where he finished seventh. Trickle returned every year to host the event until his passing in 2013.
There have been 10 different drivers who have won in the previous 13 Dick Trickle “99” races. Will we have our 11th different winner, or will someone join Dan Fredrickson as a multi-time winner, or will Fredrickson win his fifth? We will find out on Friday, Oct. 8.
Also on Friday night, the La Crosse Late Models will have two 20-lap feature events and the Area Sportsmen will also be in action along with “The Stubby” semi feature for the Super Late Models.
Dick Trickle “99” Winners
2007 – Steve Holzhausen
2008 – Nathan Haseleu
2009 – Chris Weinkauf
2010 – Dan Fredrickson
2011 – Neil Knoblock
2012 – Skylar Holzhausen
2013 – Erik Darnell
2014 – Dan Fredrickson (2)
2015 – Ty Majeski
2016 – Dan Fredrickson (3)
2017 – Rained Out
2018 – Johnny Sauter
2019 – Nick Murgic
2020 – Dan Fredrickson (4)
SOURCE: La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway