By: Kevin Ramsell
For many Oktoberfest Race Weekend race fans, it still feels like it was yesterday when the first Dick Trickle “99” event was held at the La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway in West Salem, WI.
The 53rd Annual Oktoberfest Race Weekend will feature the 15th running of the famed Friday night event on October 7th, day two of the famous four day race weekend.
Last year, recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner Ty Majeski took home his second block of cheese, the unique trophy to the winner of the special event that is 99 laps total, but broken down to three 33-lap segments. He will be back to defend his 2021 victory.
The format is simple, score the least amount of points after the three segments and you are the overall winner of the race. Each segment will hand out points to where the drivers finish. First place will get one point, second will get two points and so on, creating a whole different strategy for race teams.
But there is one big factor that will be a challenge for the drivers. Each segment will have an invert, creating a challenge to get to the front as quick as you can in each segment to gather the least amount of points possible.
The first segment invert will be set by the roll of one dice. Segment two have an invert of 10 plus a dice roll, and the final segment will line up based on points after the first two segments then an invert of 10 plus a dice roll.
An event where fans will definitely be watching the cream rise to the top of the scoring tower in each segment.
The creation of the event was the idea of a great promoter with the blessing from the famed driver.
In 2007, John McKarns, president of the ARTGO Challenge Series and Oktoberfest Promoter, approached his long-time friend about the idea of having a race named after him. Trickle was very open to the idea and felt that Oktoberfest would be the proper place to have an event named after him, he gladly gave his blessing to McKarns to go ahead with it.
But McKarns didn’t want it to be a typical race, he wanted to have something unique that fans haven’t seen in the Midwest. That idea was something he saw at another track, the famous Milk Bowl event at Thunder Road Speedbowl in Barre, VT.
It was in 1962, when track promoter and NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier came up with this event as a unique way to end their racing season. The Milk Bowl is broken into three 50-lap segments with inverts in each segment. The overall winner would get a glass of milk for their victory and was expected to kiss a cow.
McKarns was intrigued by the idea and had a few ideas of his own to make this a memorable event not just for the fans, but for the participants as well. An idea that Trickle was on board with and wanted to compete in the first event himself.
With Trickle’s approval, McKarns reached out to Squier and Tom Curley, who both owned and promoted Thunder Road and asked for their permission to take their Milk Bowl idea and come up with the Dick Trickle “99”. Squier and Curley graciously gave McKarns their blessing and the first event was held in 2007.
The event was an immediate success as fans were able to get scorecards and keep their own score throughout the three segments.
Trickle competed in it and finished 18th. This would be the last year he would get behind the wheel of a stock car. His final race he competed in at Oktoberfest was the 2007 ARCA Midwest Tour 100 where he finished seventh. Trickle came back every year to host the event until his passing in 2013.
There have been 10 different drivers who have won in the previous 14 running of the Dick Trickle “99”. Will we have our 11th different winner, or will someone join Dan Fredrickson and Ty Majeski as a multi-time winners? We will find out on Friday, October 7th.
Also on Friday night, the La Crosse Late Models will have two 20-lap feature events and the Area Sportsmen will also be in action along with “The Stubby” semi feature for the Super Late Models.
Dick Trickle “99” Winners
2007 – Steve Holzhausen
2008 – Nathan Haseleu
2009 – Chris Weinkauf
2010 – Dan Fredrickson
2011 – Neil Knoblock
2012 – Skylar Holzhausen
2013 – Erik Darnell
2014 – Dan Fredrickson (2)
2015 – Ty Majeski
2016 – Dan Fredrickson (3)
2017 – Rained Out
2018 – Johnny Sauter
2019 – Nick Murgic
2020 – Dan Fredrickson (4)
2021 – Ty Majeski (2)