Saturday, February 13th was the Lucas Oil 200 ARCA race at Daytona International Speedway, this was Sean Corr’s twelfth start at Daytona and unfortunately, Rich Bickle’s final start at this track. The two Empire Racing drivers had a strong qualifying session, Rich Bickle started 4th and Sean, 7th. For Sean Corr, who was racing for the first time in his new car, the race went pretty well and he was satisfied with his 10th place finish. He brought the car back in one piece and avoided all the wrecks that happened near him (Rich Bickle #45 with Thad Moffit #46 at lap 11, Derek Griffith #55 with Gracie Trotter #25 at lap 28, and Chuck Hiers #01 with Gracie Trotter # 25 at lap 59). He mentions “anytime you can leave Daytona with the top ten I consider this as an accomplishment no matter what series you run. It was a good start of the season for our empire racing team and Grumpy’s Performance. I’m so proud of our team, we had a brand new car for this race. I still have work to do to be really confident with it but it will only get better and better with each race. I’m looking forward to having this car back at Talladega Superspeedway in April.”
This race was full of new things for Sean, he did not just have a new car to work with but also a new teammate, Rich Bickle. “I’m really glad to see Rich Bickle in one of the Empire racing cars and it’s an honor that he chose us for his last race at Daytona, hopefully we will have him coming back for Talladega with us. Rich has a lot of racing stories and experience. Having him as a teammate was just awesome.”
Now that Daytona is over, Sean is already thinking about the next races for his 2021 season “For Talladega, I think we are going to keep the throwback car. I have received so many compliments on it the race fans seem to like it and I like it too. It brings me so many good memories every time I look at it. I would love to do more racing this year but we will have to look at our budget with our sponsors and hopefully, we will have some new ones that will want to join us! I am thankful to have Nesco Bus and Truck Sales and the Trans Group on the throwback car just as we did in 2008 when we won the Super Dirt Week at Syracuse. I hope I put on a good show for the fans in the stands, see you all at Talladega.”
As for driver Rich Bickle the race didn’t start as great as he wanted. At lap 11 he was involved in an incident with Thad Moffit. That made him restart at the end of the field but Bickle said “The word quit isn’t in a mine or my T1 guy’s vocabulary, I just kept trying to go to the front. I do know if the incident didn’t happen, we could have been one of the top five for sure! The Empire Racing team worked hard to try to get the car fixed after the wreck, but the damaged crush panel kept getting blown out.“ Back on the track he did the best he could with the damages on his car and finished 15th.
Overall, Rich Bickle seems really satisfied with his last run at Daytona “It was so great being with Grumpy (Mike Cheek who was his former crew chief when he ran in the NASCAR Truck series) again and have Sean as a teammate. I am just glad I could race Daytona one more time before I retire. Thanks to the Empire Racing and Grumpy I was able to make that come true.”
Racing isn’t just about the driver himself; a lot of people are around him and support him like his girlfriend Darcie, who was feeling pretty emotional about her last experience at Daytona. “Daytona was amazing! Seeing rich’s face light up there and doing what he loves one last time at Daytona was so special. It was my first time in Daytona, and I have to say I’m a lucky girl to have had the opportunity to be with him, see him glow, and meet some amazing people! As we left, he threw his hands up and kissed Daytona goodbye! I had tears in my eyes!! It was a good times and great memories we can share together!” From the entire team of Empire Racing, it was incredible to work with Rich Bickle and we hope to see him in future races for his final year of 2021.