May 16, 2013 By Tom Baker – RaceChaser Online Managing Editor.
It’s always sad when you lose a legend. It’s even sadder when they take their own life.
One of racing’s all-time greats may have chosen to do just that today. Charlotte, North Carolina CBS affiliate WBTV.com is reporting that NASCAR and Short-Track Legend Dick Trickle has died at the age of 71 of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound at the Forest Hill Cemetery located near his home in Lincoln County, just outside NASCAR’s hub.
According to local Authorities, Trickle used his phone to call the local 911 and report that there would be a dead body at the Cemetery and that it would be his. He then hung up. When the Operator tried to call him back there was no answer. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene they found his body lying near his pickup truck. WBTV is also reporting that Trickle’s daughter, Nicole Bowman, killed in an area car accident in 2001, is buried at that cemetery.
Trickle’s death is sure to shake the racing world from top to bottom. He was as much a hero to fans and racers at short-tracks all over the country as he was to so many in NASCAR’s Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series, where he raced for such car owners as Cale Yarborough and the Stavola Brothers throughout his career.
He won the Sprint Cup rookie of the year title in 1989 and amassed a total of 303 starts, with his final one being in 2002. He also competed more than 150 times in the Nationwide Series, winning twice. He also ran 8 races in the ARCA Series, making it to victory lane one time in 1994. His wins on short-tracks across the Midwest and the nation are too numerous to count.
Long-time fans and friends will remember that Trickle was possibly the last NASCAR racer to be allowed to have a functioning cigarette lighter installed in his cars. I will also remember seeing him race in ASA races and get the most out of every piece of equipment he drove no matter what the series.
There will be heavy hearts across the Motorsports landscape in the coming days and weeks as we remember one who was a hero to many. Dick Trickle may be gone, but he will always be remembered for his talent, his personality and his passion for the sport we all love so much.
Prayers go out to his family and friends. We will never forget.