Seven years after his passing, Dick Trickle remains a mainstay in Victory Lane at short tracks across America.
And, of course, it’s only fitting that a tangible manifestation of Trickle’s spirit can be found under the hood of the No. 91 Super Late Model driven by Ty Majeski and engineered by Toby Nuttleman — the modern torch bearers of the White Knight’s mid-western short track legacy.
Brad Mannstedt, owner of one of the cars driven by Majeski, has a tie to Trickle as his father was a sponsor and supporter of Trickle in the ’90s. That is where he first came across Nuttleman, who was wrenching on cars driven by Trickle during the height of his national prominence.
And now this dream team has a new addition.
Nuttleman came across an engine used by Trickle during the off-season and was able to use the bottom end of its block in the new power plant currently used by the No. 91. Majeski has now driven that engine to his 100th and 101st victories in a Super Late Model at New Smyrna in February and on Sunday in the Rattler 250 at South Alabama Speedway.
The White Knight rides again with Majeski and Nuttleman.
“We put together a southern parts motor over the winter,” Nuttleman explained on Sunday after winning the Rattler 250. “The no B.S. story is Dick trickle raced the bottom end of the block in 1995.
“We somehow acquired it and we had Donny (Schultz) at B&B Engines … we chose them to make it a parts motor ran it at Speedweeks. We thought, ‘well we’re coming down here, so we’ll just try it again, you know, and just see how it goes.’
Majeski led 133 of the 250 laps on Sunday and likely would have earned the lead sooner if it wasn’t for a poor qualifying draw that had him turn his laps on adverse track conditions.
“Honestly, I don’t know if there was an advantage was in using this motor, but it is lighter and it’s lighter than the McGunegill we had been using,” Nuttleman said.
“That was a special win, and that engine means a lot to us,” Majeski said. “We actually got our 100th win with this engine down at New Smyrna a few months ago. So, it’s cool for (Mannstedt) because he’s a really sentimental guy and it’s cool to get that thing in victory lane.”
Majeski has long acknowledged the pressure placed on him by driving with this particular team — so the new new engine doesn’t change the dynamic too much.
It’s the same pressure he has put on himself in every Dick Trickle Memorial race he has won in Wisconsin over the years.
“That’s a difficult thing to live up to for sure,” Majeski said. “To me, Dick Trickle is the best to ever live. He is one the winningest drivers in the world ever. He means a lot to our team.
“Being from Wisconsin, I’m from Wisconsin, he’s a racer that I idolize. He raced six, seven nights a week and raced for a living. I envy that. I idolize that and it’s something I hope I can continue doing.”
Trickle is considered by many to be the greatest pavement short track driver in history. In an estimated 2,200 races, Trickle is credited with over 1,200 feature victories.
Trickle also earned two Busch Grand National victories at Hickory and Darlington in 1997 and 1998. He also made 158 Cup Series starts over 11 seasons.
He won the 1990 Winston Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Nuttleman doesn’t call it pressure.
“I call it pride,” Nuttleman said. “I was blessed when this engine was first built to have raced with Dick. I worked on that car. I put stuff together for him. That part of it is really special. I wouldn’t call it pressure. It’s just pride and knowing what we can do and knowing he’s up there watching us.”