April 30, 2014 11:36:17 PM
By DAVID MILLER
Special to The Dispatch
Drivers and their crews usually face an adjustment period when breaking in a new chassis, but veteran super late model driver and Golden Triangle native Rick Rickman won his second race of this season with a new chassis and has four top-3 finishes thus far.
Rickman, of New Hope-based Rickman Racing, ran his No. 86 car on a MasterSbilt chassis for the last three years before switching to a chassis from Bob Pierce Race Cars before this season started. Rickman said he had success using his old chassis, but "newer is better."
"Most guys change their chassis every year," Rickman said, "and I'd been on (the MasterSbilt) for a few years."
Rickman saw success early, winning a a Mississippi State Championship Challenge Series event at Whynot Motorsports Park outside of Meridian. He currently leads the weekly events points standings. Rickman came close to winning the MSCCS points race at Columbus Motor Speedway on April 12, but he got caught up in lap traffic and came in second behind David Breazeale.
"The chassis acts a bit different, there's a lot more forward bite and it hooks up better," Rickman explained. "We were looking to make a change, and we've been happy with results so far."
Rickman, sponsored by Vance Logistics and 1250 Package Store, will return to action in two weeks when the Rickman Racing team heads to Greenville, Miss. Rickman said he's run well in Greenville in past races and he's anxious to return to the track.
On April 19, at the National Dirt Racing League event at Magnolia Motor Speedway, Rickman was one of 24 cars (out of 50) to make the feature field against mostly full-time drivers. Mechanical issues forced him out of the race, however.
"We ran the wrong tires and had some other things happen that forced us to pull off," Rickman said. "But sometimes, to make the field in an event like that, it's almost as good as a weekly racing series win."
Rickman, whose father Eddie and brother Brian are members of the Rickman Racing team, has a 17-year-old son, Trey, who has started running CRATE late models. The third generation racer has given Rickman added perspective of rearing a child who loves to race and bolstered the family atmosphere in the shop.
"I'm a nervous wreck when Trey is racing," Rickman joked. "Now I see what momma and daddy went through.
"It's exciting," Rickman added. "All of our pit crew, our wives, it's a family organization. We come work on the cars in the evenings. Everyone's kids come and play while we work on the cars."
Rickman has been racing for 28 years and has amassed more than 200 feature wins in multiple classes. He's thankful for the fans in the area who've supported dirt track racing and kept a fun hobby going for a lot of talented drivers.
"It's great to have kids come up and want to take a picture next to your car," Rickman said. "Sometimes they want to get in the seat and take pictures, and it's neat to see how excited they get. We owe a lot to the fans who support us."