As first reported by ESPN's Ryan McGee, former short-track superstar and NASCAR fixture Richard "Dick" Trickle was found dead today, of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71.
The release from the Lincoln County (N.C.) sheriff's office:
The incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Highway 150 East in Boger City.
The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call apparently from the victim that “there would be a dead body and it would be his." Communications Center workers tried to place a return call to the number but did not get an answer.
The first emergency units arriving on the scene located the body lying near the victim’s pickup truck.
Trickle was a Lincoln County resident and had lived here since the early 1990s.
Trickle's probably better known to casuals for his name, the source of a lot of laughs on the Big Show-era SportsCenter. But he made his bones racing in his native Wisconsin, and later in short-track events around the country. He entered more than 100 races a year for 15 years, and won more than 1,000 events.
He made the jump to NASCAR in 1989, and at age 48 was the oldest man ever to win Rookie of the Year. His last Winston Cup race came in 2003, having never quite gotten over the hump—in 303 races, he never took a checkered flag. (He did have two wins on what was then the Busch Series.)
And, of course, he lit up a cigarette during a 1990 race at Talladega.