Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Lincoln County (N.C.) police.
At about noon on Thursday, the Lincoln County Communications Center received a call indicating that there would be a dead body at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, and it would be the speaker's. Return calls to the number went unanswered. Crews arriving at the scene found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck.
Trickle ran in 303 races in the Sprint Cup series over the course of 24 years, finally retiring in 2002. His best year was 1989, where he notched six top-5s, including three third-place finishes, driving the #84 Miller High Life Buick. He ended that year ranked 15th, ahead of Michael Waltrip, Brett Bodine and Richard Petty, among others.
Look, we all know where the conversation about Mr. Trickle is headed. The guy's name was a punch line his entire career. But he was a hard-nosed racer in his day, and this is how we prefer to remember him best:
The racing world took to Twitter almost immediately to mourn Trickle's passing. Here are a few of the reactions:
I just read about Dick Trickle, met him during my season doing IROC series. He was a true Racer and will be missed. #RIP
— JJ Yeley (@jjyeley1) May 16, 2013
RIP Dick Trickle. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.
— Brian Scott (@bscottracing) May 16, 2013
Just want to say its a sad day. Dick trickle is a legend. RIP.
— David Stremme (@DavidStremme) May 16, 2013
Thoughts and prayers to the Dick Trickle family.
— Max Gresham (@MaxGresham) May 16, 2013
So sad to hear.RT @bobpockrass: Dick Trickle, 71, has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
— Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) May 16, 2013
wow...I am , I don't know what, I just heard Dick Trickle died today...He was a good friend and mentor
— ray evernham (@RayEvernham) May 16, 2013