Those are the lyrics of a song recorded by George Jones and it’s a social commentary about the people who made country music popular in the early days. It speaks of the legends of CM and begs the questions of who is going to replace them, as well as who is going to measure up. I couldn’t help but think of that song when I recently heard of Dick Trickle passing away.

I was on a trip to Mooresville, North Carolina, “RaceCity USA” as they like to call it locally, and it happened on the Thursday I was there just a few miles west of where I was staying. I thought about the time I met Dick in 1975 when he came to our area to race in the Speedweeks short track series at New Smyrna Speedway.

He borrowed setup space in a race shop I was familiar with and when I found out one of the most successful short track racers in history was there, I made it a point to go by and hang out. He was a delight, full of humor, energy, whit, and racing knowledge, although he didn’t let on just how much he really knew.

Dick was a simple man, much like most of the early racers. He did his talking on the track, unlike many of our modern racers. I’m getting just a little tired of the drama we see now days with drivers whining and complaining and so forth. Yeah, we had “jaws” back in the day, but for the most part, icons like Dale Sr.; Richard, Bobby, and Donnie; Cale; David; Curtis; and Fireball were humble.

If you don’t recognize any of those names and can’t think of the last names, go back and study the history of stock car racing in America and it will come to you. You owe it to yourself. I hung around these guys back in the ’60s when they came to Daytona.

No, I didn’t know them, but I knew their character. I listened to them speak to one another and I watched them not talk to the press. They all, to a man, walked quietly and carried a big right foot. They got the job done on the track and when it was over, it was over.

How many times have you heard of Richard Petty getting into controversy, or Dale Earnhardt, or for that matter, Dick Trickle? It just didn’t happen, at least not in the press. Yes, we have a very different press corps today verses yesteryear. But that aside, those icons of our sport still kept their mouths shut to the public. And I think everyone appreciated it.

And that’s not all they did that I respected so much. They raced each other cleanly, albeit hard and rooted each other out of the groove or lead as needed and if you couldn’t get back to their bumpers once you got rooted out, then they had deserved and earned the position.

Blocking and then complaining about getting bumped is for babies and suckers. If you can’t stay off someone’s front bumper, how does it go, “lead, follow or get out of the way.” I remember when a certain Darrell tried to block a certain Dale and got turned into the fence. One driver ran his mouth and the other stayed quiet. But they both understood the situation.

Maybe the answer lies in the films of the races run back in the day. If someone could get the license to put those on DVD, maybe those of us who were too young, or not even born yet, could see how it was done by the early masters of our sport.

Excerpts could be shown at drivers meetings to demonstrate how to, or not to, conduct a pass, or TV interview. The point is, those who built this sport and who had so much talent back when driving truly separated the men from the boys, are to be admired for who they were as a person as well as who they were on the racetrack.

When you are 50 or 60 years old, you young racers, how do you want to be remembered; as a whiny, pouty big mouth, or one who commands respect by being silent and strong? Why do you think Richard always has that big smile on his face? It’s because he is proud of the way he led his life.

Ken Schrader just won the ARCA Racing Series race at Toledo at the ripe old age of 57. I looked at the 1985 Daytona 500 results page and there was Ken’s name finishing in 11th place in his very first start there. And he has been winning ever since. I can’t remember one time Kenny had any controversy and everyone likes him. And he wins still today. Enough said.

If you have comments or questions about this or anything racing related, send them to my email address:, or mail can be sent to Circle Track, Senior Tech Editor, 9036 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619.

Centering the Steering Comment

Regarding your “Alignment Technology” article (July ’13), I think your “Step 6 -- Center the Steering Box” is not the best way to determine it, especially before bumpsteering. It seems that placing the inner tie-rod ends on the rack or drag link equidistant from their respective lower A-arm inner pivot points and centering the steering wheel on the steering shaft is more accurate. I would appreciate your thoughts.
—Pat McFall, The Race Shop; Portland, OR


Thanks for your observations. My thought on that is this, if the rack or steering arm is not too far out of centered, then your bumpsteer would be better with the tie rod inner ends closer to centered on the lower control arm mounts.

The problem comes when we need to go too far to accomplish that and run out of steering angle, or distance to turn the wheels, especially when running on dirt. It matters both ways on dirt. On asphalt, if the turning right is compromised, no problem, it just gets hard to maneuver the car around the shop or pits.

Tie rod angle is much more of a consideration than the length or placement laterally. Remembering the basic design criteria for minimal bumpsteer, the tie rod must point to the instant center created by extending a line from the centers of rotation of the ball joints through the centers of the inner mounts to where the upper and lower lines converge creating the IC.

I recently noticed a Super Late Model asphalt car where the team had to put the right tie rod on top of the steering arm on the spindle. This was because the inner lower control arm mount was low and well below the end of the rack. So, they spaced the inner tie rod end up and mounted the outer tie rod end on top of the steering arm.

I had never seen that before. In looking at their moment center design, I saw too much angle in the lower arms, so they needed to raise the inner mount by 1 inch. This put the tie rod much closer to the same level as the lower arm and they were able to move the tie rod down under the steering arm.