MOORESVILLE, N.C. (January 6, 2021) – NASCAR veteran and grass roots racing multi-track champion Rich Bickle has signed an agreement with Empire Racing Group, LLC to run the upcoming ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway on February 13.
Bickle will pilot the No. 45 Chevrolet with Mike “Grumpy” Cheek as the crew chief. He will be a teammate to Sean Corr, who will drive the team’s No. 8 Chevrolet.
A native of Edgerton, WI, Bickle is a three-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race winner with a combined 186 NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Truck Series starts. His last NASCAR event was a NCWTS race at Nashville Superspeedway in 2005. Bickle also has 12 ARCA starts with five top-5’s and two poles to his credit.
For the past few years, the five-time Snowball Derby and four-time Slinger National champion has been racing Super Late Models in the Midwest.
“This is pretty cool to be able to put this deal together with Mike Cheek and race with him again,” Bickle said. “We worked together at Richard Petty Motorsports and we’re looking to repeat that success.
“I made a deal with myself that when I turn 60, which is in May this year, I would stop racing that year. It will be my 45th year driving and No. 45 has been my car number for years. I’m starting this final year racing snowmobiles at Eagle River, WI this weekend, and I’m ending it at the Snowball Derby.
“Staying behind the wheel like I have all these years has kept my competitive drive going. I have never raced for money; it’s been all about the enjoyment of competing and having fun and that’s what we’re going to do at Daytona.”
Cheek, the owner of Grumpy’s Performance which runs the daily operations for Empire Racing Group, is reuniting with Bickle from their Richard Petty Motorsports days together that started in 1996.
“When I was running the Truck Series deal for RPM, Richard Petty said I could select any driver I wanted,” Cheek said. “I chose Rich Bickle because nobody could beat him and he took care of his equipment. We had some pretty good days at the track.
“Here we are in 2021 and we’re going racing again. The knowledge and experience he brings to the car are incredible and our goal is to let it show at Daytona in the ARCA race.
“Having someone with the following and history of Rich Bickle in the car is sure to bring a lot of attention when guys like us from the ‘Old Guard’ get together.”
In regards to marketing partnerships for the race, serious inquiries are being accepted an all levels to be part of this event.