Posted: Monday, August 4th 2014 at 12:00pm
World Crown 300 Rewind: In 1983, Trickle was the king
By Brandon Reed Staff
Dick Trickle's one pit stop strategy gave him the edge over the field as he scored the win in the inaugural World Crown 300. / Photo: Robert Turner
JEFFERSON, GA - It came about as an idea for the ultimate short track event.
All Pro Series head man Bob Harmon had been looking for a late season event to pit the best short track racers from the south against the hottest hot shoes from the north. Teaming with former ASA official Rob Joyce, who had just taken over the position of promoter and general manager of Georgia International Speedway (now known as Gresham Motorsports Park) in Jefferson, Georgia, it appeared they had found just the right formula.
The race carried a $160,000 purse, with $50,000 going to the winner of the feature event, the Sunday, Nov. 27, 1983 inaugural running of the World Crown 300.
Harmon pulled in the southern stock car aces, like Gary Balough, Butch Lindley, Jody Ridley, Freddy Fryar, while Joyce called in favors to bring names like Dick Trickle, Alan Kulwicki, Bob Senneker and Mike Eddy to Georgia. Throw into the mix several big NASCAR stars, such as Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett and Donnie Allison, and you had one of the biggest shows of the year maybe of all time.
Balough, piloting a jet black Firebird bearing the slogan Black Is Back on the rear bumper, set a new track record to take the Skoal Pole, turning a lap at 17.625, 102.127 mph.
The Florida speedster was considered to be among the favorites, and on Sunday, he would charge to the point early, leading the first 100-plus laps while Jim Sauter and Eddy gave chase. Just after the 100 lap mark, with Baloughs tires worn, Sauter made a bold move on the outside to take the top spot.
Sauter would hold the command of the field up to just before the 200 lap mark, when he made his first pit stop of the day. Trickle, Eddy and Senneker would all vie for the lead.
Meanwhile, Georgias Ronnie Sanders was on the move. Starting in 12th, he would pull his way up through the field. He would get as high as second around the 200 lap mark, when a cut tire on a restart slowed his car.
Senneker and Eddy split the ailing car, and made contact with Sanders. He was able to continue, but the toe-in was knocked out, spoiling his chances at the victory.
As various race strategies began to play out during the final 100 laps, it became evident that one racers game plan had the edge.
Dick Trickle made only one pit stop all day, that coming on lap 123. When the other drivers made their final pit stops around the 200 lap mark, Trickle would emerge as the leader, and would stay out front for the final third of the event.
The only challenge Trickle saw came on the 11th of 12 cautions on the day, when he stumbled slightly on the restart. That gave second place runner Mike Eddy an opening in the double file restart. Eddy couldnt make the most of the situation, and Trickle would again move away to the advantage.
Trickle would continue on to lead the final 40 laps unchallenged to take the win and the $50,000 pay day.
In victory lane, as a crown was placed on his head by All Pro official Bill Desmond, Trickle said Im not a king, Im a race car driver!
But for that day, Trickle was the King of the Short Tracks, winner of the inaugural World Crown 300. For years to come, he would list the victory as the biggest of his career. That was exactly what Bob Harmon and Rob Joyce had been shooting for.
For more information, visit www.racegmp.com.
Georgia International Speedway Jefferson, GA
World Crown 300 Nov. 27, 1983
1. Dick Trickle 300 laps
2. Mike Eddy 300 laps
3. Bob Senneker- 300 laps
4. Jim Sauter 300 laps
5. Gary Balough 300 laps
6. Gene Morgan 300 laps
7. Ronnie Sanders 300 laps
8. Jody Ridley 299 laps
9. Mark Martin 299 laps
10. Freddy Fryar 299 laps
11. Darrell Waltrip 299 laps
12. Bobby Allison 299 laps
13. Billy McGinnis 298 laps
14. Ray Putnam 297 laps
15. Alton Jones 296 laps
16. Larry Raines 295 laps
17. Alan West 293 laps
18. Dave Dunkin 292 laps
19. Davey Allison 289 laps
20. Tracey Leslie 276 laps
21. Bob Strait 252 laps (accident)
22. Joe Ruttman 250 laps (accident)
23. Alan Kulwicki 244 laps (accident)
24. Randy Couch 227 laps (engine)
25. Junior Hanley 194 laps (handling)
26. Mike Alexander 192 laps (sway bar)
27. Mark Malicut 190 laps (engine)
28. Butch Lindley 171 laps (oil pressure)
29. Butch Miller 154 laps (suspension)
30. Roger Keller 127 laps (ignition)
31. Harold Lemley 127 laps (engine)
32. Mickey Gibbs 101 laps (suspension)
33. Donnie Allison 71 laps (handling)
34. Rusty Wallace 21 laps (accident)
35. Neil Bonnett 16 laps (rear end)
36. Frank Gawlinski 8 laps (engine)
Link: Gresham Motorsports Park
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