Marcis And Trickle Remain Young At Heart

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An old adage has it that "You're as young as you feel." If that's the case, then Dick Trickle and Dave Marcis could still be racing for the next 20 years or so.

Considering both of their ages, that won't happen for either of the rugged NASCAR veterans. With the dawn of a new millennium, both Wisconsin natives are certainly in the twilight of their careers.

If you listen to either one of them, however, words like "old" and "retirement" are foreign. The meanings are lost on both of them.

"I certainly know that I'm not 38 years old, but that's how I feel even now when I'm out there driving a race car," the 58-year-old Trickle said. "I still get a huge bang out of it after all these years. It's still like when I first jumped in a car when I was a kid.

"Of course, I've slowed down quite a bit from then, and I know my limitations. But that doesn't mean I can't keep up with these younger guys out here. I'm still very competitive and can still win races out here. Age has nothing to do with that on the race track when you've got the heart of a youngster."

Marcis, who turned 59 years-old on March 1, feels exactly the same way.

"Yeah, it's still a helluva lot of fun when you're out there on the race track," the driver of the No. 71 Chevrolet said. "When you're in the race and you're running competitively, you just can't beat it. But that's the key words, running competitively. It's become increasingly difficult over the years, especially in a situation like mine where I've got an independent team, to do that. Driving a race car is my job, and it's my livelihood. When you've been doing it as long as I have, it's hard to even think about doing anything else."

Besides their ages, Trickle and Marcis are kindred spirits. They both raced on the short tracks of Wisconsin (Trickle is a native of Wisconsin Rapids and Marcis is from Wausau), when their careers began in the 1960s, often racing against each other.

While Marcis made his way south to compete at NASCAR's higher levels much more quickly than Trickle did, both have enjoyed moderate success over their careers. And because of their savvy and expertise, both are consistently asked to test cars for the International Race of Champions Series.

Marcis said when he first went south to compete in NASCAR, he brought Trickle, one of his best friends, with him.

"I guess that had to be around the fall of 1966," Marcis said. "The first NASCAR race I came down here to compete in was at Charlotte, and Dick came along with me to help me on the car. Of course we ran different kinds of cars up there in Wisconsin, and there were so many things we had to do to the car to change it. As it turned out, we just weren't able to get it all changed and fixed up, so we ended up having to go back home.

"I was still determined to make my way down here and continue to race, but I didn't really do that until 1968. That's when my NASCAR career really got going. Dick stayed up in Wisconsin a few more years and won a lot of races up there. He's a legend on the short tracks of Wisconsin, and deservedly so."

Trickle doesn’t regret the time he spent in Wisconsin. In his home state, when the Busch Series competes at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Wis., fans form huge lines to catch a glimpse, get an autograph or shake the hand of the short-track legend.

"I would have liked to come down here at the same time Dave did, but it just wasn't in the cards for me at that time," Trickle said. "I really enjoyed myself on the short tracks in Wisconsin, and when I finally decided to come down here, it was the right decision. I've had a great time since I've come down here and I'm still enjoying myself."

Trickle and Marcis' NASCAR careers have taken them in different directions. These days, Trickle can be found driving the Jimmy Spencer-owned No. 5 Chevrolet full-time in the Busch Series, while occasionally driving in a substitute role in the Winston Cup Series.

Marcis, on the other hand, has struggled just to make races over the past few years in Winston Cup with his own team. His last Winston Cup victory came nearly two decades ago in 1982, and he hasn't finished better than 33rd in the Winston Cup point standings since 1992.

"Dick's really got a luxury that I don't in that he drives for people and doesn't have his own team," Marcis said. "So, he doesn't have to worry about paying the bills, hiring the people and things like that. I know he appreciates what I do to try to continue to compete at this level, but it's hard for him to understand what I've got to do every day of the year."

"I really admire Dave for what he's done over the long haul," Trickle said. "He's still racing because he's still doing what he wants to do and what he loves to do. I'm sure he's got a lot of headaches with owning a team, and being a small independent team like he has certainly doesn't help at all in Winston Cup racing. It's so competitive here, and there's a lot of things you don't have any control over whatsoever."

Like the way NASCAR handles second-round qualifying and the way it awards its
provisionals, a thorn that has stuck in Marcis' side for quite a while now. Most weekends, Marcis and his team can be found on Saturday mornings doing everything they can to their racecar to find more speed after a less-than-satisfying first-round qualifying effort. He has continually lobbied NASCAR to make changes, but to no avail.

"It's discouraging when you have to go home and miss a race, and we've done that quite a bit over the last few years," Marcis said. "It's discouraging to think I've been here 33 years and I'll come here and qualify 38th or 39th and end up having to go home and there's people in the race that are qualifying 47th or 48th and they don't even attempt to qualify in the second round. I don't think it's right. That gets you down in the dumps in a pretty big hurry. If it rains, sometimes you're going by the luck of the draw, and that's crazy. I totally disagree with the way the provisionals are given out and the way the second round is run. And I'm not the only one.

"NASCAR says they're looking at it, but it's too late this year. They said that last year and in 1998, too. They're not going to change it, they're just going to keep on giving the same answer. It's like going hunting and your hear something in the brush and you shoot it because you hear something move. That about makes as much sense."

So why, when it has become so increasingly difficult for a team like his to run competitively in the Winston Cup Series, does Marcis continue to put himself through such anguish

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