Reffner, Marzofka share memories of racing against Dick Trickle
By Bert Lehman
Editor, Full Throttle Magazine
When you sit down to interview old-time local race car drivers the stories of past racing experiences tend to flow. That’s exactly what happened when I sat down with former drivers Tom Reffner and Marv Marzofka.
When I asked Marzofka if there was a particular Dick Trickle memory that came to mind, he didn’t hesitate to share the following story.
Marzofka said he and Trickle were racing at West Salem, and Trickle was racing a new car.
“We were in the trophy dash or the heat race,” Marzofka recalled. “I’m in the back and pretty soon here comes Dick crowding into the side of me.”
Marzofka wondering what Trickle was doing, when Trickle did it again.
“I just got off of the gas a little bit and touched his bumper and I hooked his bumper. I didn’t want to do that. I just wanted to let him know I didn’t like that,” Marzofka said. “Pretty soon his car was sideways down the whole front straightaway at West Salem and they had a brick wall going along the inside. The last I’d seen, his left front wheel was coming over the top of the car. He hit that sucker.
“I didn’t feel like racing anymore in that race. We got done racing and then I didn’t want to go into the pits. We were pitting alongside each other.”
When Marzofka pulled into the pits, he said he was trying to come up with a story to tell Trickle.
“He ran right over to the car and I thought, ‘Oh, here we go,’” Marzofka said. “He said, ‘Boy, you saved my ass so bad.’”
After hearing that, Marzofka asked Trickle how he saved him.
Marzofka said Trickle responded, “Well, my steering wheel came off and I was headed right for the gate where you come in.”
Reffner also eagerly shared a story about his time racing against and with Trickle. Reffner said Trickle would receive money if he showed up to race at a race at a track in the Pittsburgh area. The problem was Trickle’s race car was out of commission.
Reffner said Trickle asked him if he could race his car at that race. Reffner was scheduled to race at a track in the Chicago area the day after the race in Pittsburgh. But Reffner said Trickle had also let him drive his car in the past.
“I couldn’t say no. And I didn’t want to say no,” Reffner said. “I told him, ‘You can take it and I’ll go with you,’ using my truck and everything. I said ‘You can’t change anything on it that we can’t change back for the next day. You can do anything you want as long as we keep track of it.’ We get out there to Pittsburgh and he isn’t really happy with the way it’s handling and he wants to change this, and this, and this. There were a couple of things he wanted to change that you just couldn’t change back.
“We had to get going from Pittsburgh to Illiana which was south of Chicago the next day so I could run. He wanted to start changing everything over and I [wouldn’t let him]. He was kind of unhappy with me. He finished up in the top somewhere, but he wanted to win it.”
Marzofka added that Trickle wasn’t bashful about racing someone else’s car.
“And he usually didn’t wreck them,” Reffner added.
Marzofka did recall a time Trickle wrecked his car when he let Trickle race it.
Marzofka said with a laugh that Trickle seldom got up before noon, but Trickle called him at 8 a.m. the day after Trickle borrowed his car. As soon as Marzofka got on the phone with Trickle, he said he knew Trickle had wrecked his car because Trickle was seldom up that early.
“I really didn’t get mad about it,” Marzofka said.
Reffner added with a laugh, “If he got up that early you knew it was important to him to get it back going for you.”
(This article first appeared in the April 2014 issues of Full Throttle Magazine)