The Slinger Nationals have been the home to many great stories and careers. The quarter-mile high banked track has been a proving ground for the best in the Midwest. Some drivers are pleased to have won it once, let alone multiple times.
One of the best to ever race at Slinger Super Speedway is Rich Bickle, Jr. He has seen it all and he’s won it all under all the formats of the Slinger Nationals.
Years ago, the Slinger Nationals was a series-based event centered around three to four dates. The highest finisher over those races was awarded the title Slinger Nationals winner.
It took a while for Bickle to get things rolling in the Nationals. in 1983 and 1989, Rich Bickle was the Late Model division track champion at Slinger. His success in the Slinger Nationals series didn’t start until 1989, when he won the first race and was third in the final race, but he could not overcome Dick Trickle, who was on the podium in all three races. Bickle was the track champion, but Trickle was the Nationals champion for 1989.
Bickle would later take that Nationals title honor twice, first in 1992 and then again in 1996. In 1997, he won two of the three races before having trouble in the third. A year later he won twice more, but didn’t show for the third event. His wins in the 1998 races made him the driver with the most wins in the Slinger Nationals Series era.
In the year 2000, the three-race series shifted to an annual event format and Bickle was there for that first show. Since 2000, Bickle has missed only a handful of races. Tuesday’s race will be his 18th start in the event format era. He has five top-10 finishes and wins in 2003 and 2013 to add to his series victories overall.
Matt Kenseth is the king of the event era with seven overall wins. That does not include his 1994 series win, either, which gives him eight overall titles. This is important because Bickle had more Slinger Nationals race wins. His 10 wins in the Series era along with his two wins in the event era make him one of the most decorated drivers ever at the Slinger Nationals.
-Story by: Elgin Traylor, Speed51 Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo