There’s a photo of B.C. Farr in his old No. 41 car, the one with the Old Baraboo Inn logo on the hood, passing NASCAR legend Dick Trickle.
It happened at the Wisconsin Dells Raceway Park in 2002 during the Dick Trickle 100, and it’s a moment Farr will never forget, especially in light of Trickle’s recent suicide at his home in North Carolina.
Still mourning the death of his idol, Farr remembered that is was Trickle’s advice that helped him get past the beloved Wisconsin racing icon on that day.
“He was a great help to me, and everything he said to me worked,” Farr said.
A race car driver himself, Farr looked up to Trickle, a man who had strong ties to Farr’s family. It was Farr’s dad, Curtis, who sponsored Trickle for many years, starting in the mid- to late-1960s, when Trickle was beginning to dominate the Wisconsin short-track circuit.
As a child, B.C. Farr got to meet Trickle when he was “that tall,” Farr said, holding his hand about three to four feet above the floor of the Old Baraboo Inn. And he saw too many of Trickle’s races to count.
“My dad used to do all the concessions at the Dells track, and every Saturday night I would fall asleep watching Dick race,” Farr said. “My dad was a long-time sponsor of Dick’s. As a child, I got to take a victory lap in the A&W purple Mustang. What a thrill to be sitting next to my idol.”
B.C.’s dad used to own an A&W restaurant in Baraboo, along with the Long Branch Tavern. On many occasions, Trickle would drive his race car to the tavern after a night on the track.
“My dad sponsored many drivers,” B.C. said. “Dick had a leg injury, and for a while he was out of work. But, my dad needed a driver, and there was a guy who said, ‘Why don’t you give Dick a shot?’”
Trickle, who was born in Wisconsin Rapids, made the most of it. His racing career actually began in the late 1950s, but the cars he drove were slow, and his age – he was a teen when he started – prevented him from racing at his home track.
Eventually, though, Trickle turned his full attention to driving, and after he won the National Short Track Championship at Rockford Speedway in 1966, he started winning regularly. In 1967, he compiled 25 feature victories. Four years later, Trickle won 58 feature events, and in 1972, he racked up the most short-track wins of anybody with 67. Furthermore, he held the track records at Adams-Friendship, Capitol, Wausau, Wisconsin Dells and La Crosse.
Buoyed by his successes, Trickle gradually began racing out of state more and more, although in 1982, he won his first Miller 200 event at the Milwaukee Mile. A year later, Trickle took the checkered flag at the World Crown 300 in Georgia.
Although he had competed occasionally in NASCAR races throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, it wasn’t until 1989 that Trickle competed in that league full-time, debuting in the No. 84 Miller High Life Buick for Stavola Brothers Racing.
Trickle won Rookie of the Year honors that season at the grand old age of 48. He was oldest driver in NASCAR’s Winston Cup (now the Sprint Cup) history to receive the award. A year later, Trickle won the Winston Open, now the NASCAR Sprint Showdown. But, in the highly competitive world of NASCAR in the ‘90s, Trickle couldn’t seem to find the magic, although he did win two Busch Series races, after making his Busch debut in 1984.
The good-natured Trickle didn’t mind poking fun at himself and his lack of success on NASCAR’s biggest stage, as he did in a 1997 NAPA Auto Parts commercial. And his popularity only grew as ESPN anchors Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann made it a habit to mention where he finished after every NASCAR highlights package.
The last time B.C. saw Trickle, however, was at that 2002 race at Dells Raceway Park. A collector of racing memorabilia, B.C. has a number of Trickle-related items – including that photo of B.C. passing Trickle, a framed T-shirt signed by Trickle to Farr’s father, and an Old Baraboo Inn menu signed by Trickle – at the Old Baraboo Inn in a closed-off area. And a hat signed by Trickle hangs over a bell above the bar.
Soon, though, Farr plans to hang many of those items on a wall of the inn in tribute to Trickle, his racing hero.
“I have been waiting for the day that Dick would walk through the door at the Old Baraboo Inn and see how proudly that I have displayed the items from him, but now sadly, that day will never come,” B.C. said.
News of Trickle’s May 16 death at the age of 71 and the manner in which he died shocked B.C. He’s still in mourning.
“I feel terrible. I feel sick,” B.C. said.
B.C. will not only remember Trickle the driver, but he’ll also think of him as the man who inspired him to race cars.
“He was a mentor to Rusty Wallace,” B.C. said. “So many people learned so much from him. He was a great teacher.”
And B.C. applied those lessons on the track, even when he raced against Trickle, as he did in 1995 the first time at Madison International Speedway.
“I watched Dick race all of my life growing up, and he won many of them,” B.C. said. “After racing my way up through the ranks, it was an enormous thrill to get to race with him on different tracks.”