Dick Trickle

Highlights of Matt Kenseth’s NASCAR career

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Matt Kenseth is coming back to drive the No. 42 for Chip Ganassi Racing for the rest of the season.

The future Hall of Famer will look to add to a career that includes the 2003 Cup championship and 39 Cup victories, including a pair of Daytona 500 triumphs.

Here’s a look at some of the landmark events in Kenseth’s NASCAR career.

May 25, 1996 – Makes NASCAR debut in what was called the Busch Grand National Series. He started 37th and finished 31st at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mark Martin won that race. Dick Trickle was second.

Feb. 21, 1998 – Scores first win in what was called the Busch Grand National Series. He chased down Tony Stewart in the final laps at Rockingham. Kenseth gave Stewart’s rear bumper a tap on the last lap, allowing him to get next to Stewart and drag race Stewart to the finish.

Sept. 20, 1998 – Makes first Cup start. Drives in place of Bill Elliott, who misses race at Dover to attend the funeral of his father. Kenseth started 16th and finished sixth in the No. 94 car.

May 28, 2000 – Scores first career Cup victory, winning the Coca-Cola 600. Kenseth joined a list that  includes David Pearson (1961), Jeff Gordon (1994) and Bobby Labonte (1995) as drivers who scored their first career Cup victory with a win in the 600. Kenseth goes on to win Rookie of the Year honors.

Nov. 9, 2003 – His fourth-place finish at Rockingham clinches the Cup title with one race left in the season.

Feb. 22, 2004 – Wins final Cup race at Rockingham, nipping Kasey Kahne at the finish line by 0.01 seconds.

Aug. 27, 2005 – Wins Bristol night race for the first time. He would go on to win the event in 2006 and 2013.

March 26, 2006 – The memorable incident with Jeff Gordon at Bristol. Gordon got Kenseth loose with two laps to go for third place. Kenseth returned the favor on the last lap and Gordon spun. Gordon approached Kenseth on pit road and shoved him after the race.

Feb. 15, 2009 – Scores his first career Daytona 500 victory, leading the final seven laps in the rain-shortened race. He would go on to win the following week at Auto Club Speedway to open the season with wins in the first two races of the year.

Feb. 27, 2012 – Scores his second career Daytona 500 win, beating Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 0.210 seconds in an overtime finish.

June 26, 2012 – Roush Fenway Racing confirms that Kenseth will not return to the team after the season.

Sept. 4, 2012 – Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Kenseth will join the team beginning with the 2013 season.

March 10, 2013 – Wins at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the first of seven Cup wins that season, a career high. He also won at Kansas, the Southern 500 at Darlington, Kentucky, the Bristol night race, Chicagoland and New Hampshire. He would go on to finish second in the points. He also was runner-up in the Cup championship in 2006.

Sept. 27, 2015 – Wins playoff race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for his fifth and final win of the season. The New Hampshire victory is Kenseth’s third in a six-race stretch.

Oct. 18, 2015 – Finishes 14th at Kansas in a race he led late before contact with Joey Logano‘s car spun Kenseth.

Nov. 1, 2015 – Wrecks Logano intentionally at Martinsville Speedway in retaliation for Kansas incident.

Nov. 3, 2015 – NASCAR suspends Kenseth two races for wrecking Logano at Martinsville.

July 7, 2017 – Kenseth reveals at a press conference at Kentucky Speedway that “as of today, I do not have a job for next year.”

Nov. 12, 2017 – Kenseth wins at Phoenix Raceway in his next-to-last race with Joe Gibbs Racing.

April 25, 2018 – Roush Fenway Racing announces that Kenseth will return to the team to drive the No. 6 car in select races to help the team improve. He’ll split driving duties with Trevor Bayne.

April 27, 2020 – Chip Ganassi Racing announces that Kenseth will take over the No. 42 car for the rest of the Cup season.


April 23 in NASCAR: Darrell Waltrip sends Monte Carlo out with win

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Long before the Cup Series conducted the 2007 season alternating between two generations of cars, a manufacturer swapped car models in the middle of the season.

The switch took place in 1989 and involved Chevrolet going from the Monte Carlo to the Lumina.

The Monte Carlo’s last ride (before its 1995 re-introduction) came in the season’s eighth race on April 23 at Martinsville Speedway as the short track’s master in the 1980s, Darrell Waltrip, took the win.

Waltrip passed 47-year-old rookie Dick Trickle for the lead with 52 laps to go and led the rest of the way.

His main challenger in the race’s final stage was Dale Earnhardt, who finished second after leading 103 laps. The Intimidator’s chances at the win ended on his last pit stop when an air hose malfunctioned and the No. 3 team couldn’t get a new left-rear tire on it.

Afterward, NASCAR officials found Earnhardt’s left rear was missing two lug nuts and fined the team $300, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era.” The same violation today would cost a Cup crew chief $20,000 and a one-race suspension.

For Waltrip, it was the 10th of his 11 career Martinsville wins. Nine of them came in the 1980s. In Victory Lane, an exhausted Waltrip had to receive oxygen before continuing his celebration.

“What a great day for Chevrolet, I was hoping it would happen this way,” Waltrip said in the next day’s Charlotte Observer. “The reason I sat down for a few seconds in Victory Lane is because I was sick and I didn’t want to throw up on this race car. I might have to use it again.”

Waltrip would get the Lumina’s first win two races later in the Coca-Cola 600.

Also on this date:

1961: Richard Petty easily won a race at Richmond that saw 12 cars start and six finish it.

1962: Rex White won a rain-shortened race at Bowman Gray Stadium to cap off a series of four Grand National races over five days. For those races, the series traveled from Greenville to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then to Martinsville, Virginia, before ending at Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Eleven drivers competed in all four events.

1967: Petty led the final 31 laps to win at Martinsville for his fourth win on the short track. He and Cale Yarborough were the only drivers to finish on the lead lap. Third-place finisher J.T. Putney finished nine laps down.

1972: Petty won at Martinsville by seven laps over Bobby Allison. That was despite his 1972 Plymouth running on only seven cylinders, according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era.” “It cost me about 50 horsepower,” Petty said. “But I could make up some of the distance in the corners because I was going into them slower.”

1995: Rusty Wallace led 175 laps and beat Ted Musgrave to win at Martinsville for his third consecutive win on the short track.

March 29 in NASCAR history: Dale Earnhardt snags Darlington win from Bill Elliott

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On March 29, 1987, Bill Elliott tried to win at Darlington Raceway by going the final 72 laps on one tank of gas.

That didn’t work out.

Instead, Elliott ran out of gas on the final lap and had to watch the No. 3 of Dale Earnhardt zoom by on his outside in Turn 4 and take the checkered flag.

“When it ran out, I just pulled down out of the way,” Elliott said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing: The Modern Era.” “I sure wasn’t going to push him into the wall. I don’t drive that way.”

Earnhardt, who led 239 of 367 laps, stopped for fuel with 11 laps to go.

Then, as he chased Elliott, he smacked the wall in Turn 2 with four laps to go.

“I knocked the hell out of the wall, but I still wound up winning. That’s tough to do,” Earnhardt said according to “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing.”

The win was Earnhardt’s third Darlington victory in four races.

Also on this date:

1959: Junior Johnson won a 100-mile race at Wilson (N.C) Speedway. He did it in front an audience who didn’t have a place to sit. According to “NASCAR: The Complete History,” the grandstands caught fire and burned to the ground less than an hour before the race began.

1992: While the above mentioned race from 1987 started a four-race win streak for Earnhardt, the 1992 TranSouth 400 at Darlington represented the opposite for Elliott. The win followed victories at Rockingham, Richmond and Atlanta. Even despite four wins in the first five races of the season, Elliott was second in the points to Davey Allison, who won the Daytona 500 and finished fourth or better in the next four races.

1997: After leading the final 22 laps, Dick Trickle defeated defending champion Randy LaJoie at Hickory Motor Speedway to earn his first Xfinity Series win and his first national NASCAR series win. Trickle was 56 at the time of the victory. In 461 starts across Cup and Xfinity, he only earned two wins, both in Xfinity.

1998: Jeff Gordon won the spring race at Bristol for the fourth consecutive year.

2010: In a green-white-checkered finish, Denny Hamlin goes from fourth to the lead to claim a win at Martinsville.

2019: Kyle Busch won the Truck Series race at Texas to complete a sweep of his first four Truck Series starts of the year. He’d win his fifth and final start in May at Charlotte.


Dick Trickle statue dedicated in Wisconsin hometown

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After six years of work and the dedication of volunteers and donations, a life-size statue of the late Dick Trickle was erected on Sunday in the former NASCAR driver’s hometown in Rudolph, Wisconsin.

The statue, which depicts Trickle with his arms above his head acknowledging an unseen roaring crowd, was dedicated in a park at an unfinished memorial to the driver.

Source: Sue Trickle-Martin on Facebook

Held in the rain, the dedication came during a seven-hour celebration of Trickle that was attended by hundreds of fans and friends of the driver, in addition to his brother, sisters and daughter.

“It’s amazing what they did,” Chuck Trickle, the driver’s brother told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I got here Monday at 5 o’clock. The guys were still here. We sat and had a beer, and I gave ’em all a hug and I looked at this thing and I got tears in my eyes.

“It really means a lot to our family and myself.”

The dedication of the statue comes six years after Trickle’s death at the age of 71 from a self-inflicted gunshot.

Trickle, the 1989 Cup rookie of the year, made 303 Cup starts from 1970 – 2002. His only two national series wins came in the Xfinity Series at Hickory Motor Speedway in 1997 and Darlington Raceway in 1998.

The memorial to Trickle is expected to be completed next year.

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Matt Kenseth to race at Slinger Nationals in July

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Former Cup champion Matt Kenseth plans to compete in the July 9 Slinger Nationals at Slinger Speedway, the track announced on its Facebook page.

Kenseth, the 2003 Cup champion, ran 665 races in his Cup career, winning 39 times. The two-time Daytona 500 champion competed in 15 Cup races last year for Roush Fenway Racing to help the organization improve its cars. His last Cup race was in the 2018 season finale in Miami.

In a statement to the track, Kenseth said of returning to run the Slinger Nationals:

“I can’t think of a better place for me to get back in a race car than Slinger. It’s been a good track for me throughout my career. We’ve had a lot of success there, a lot of memorable moments, and I’m looking forward to going back.

“The Nationals have always been one of the major events in all of short track racing. Certainly it was the one you wanted to win growing up in Wisconsin. Throughout the years, a lot of big names in NASCAR have raced in the Nationals. That’s a testament to how big of a race this has been for some time.”

Kenseth is a seven-time Slinger Nationals champion, winning the event in 1994, 2002, ’06, ’08, ’09, ’12, ’16.

Among those who have won the Slinger Nationals are Alan Kulwicki, Dick Trickle, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch