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Retired NASCAR driver Richard 'Dick' Trickle dead at 71

May 16, 2013 at 5:45 PM

BOGER CITY, N.C., May 16 (UPI) -- Retired NASCAR driver Richard "Dick" Trickle was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Boger City, N.C., Thursday, police said.

The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office said Trickle, who was 71, was found at the Forest Lawn Cemetery on Highway 150 East, after someone called the office around noon and said "there would be a dead body [at the cemetery] and it would be his,"police said.

First responders found Trickle's body near his pickup truck and the sheriff's office said he died of an "apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," WCNC-TV, Charlotte, N.C., reported.

Trickle was 48 when he was named Rookie of the Year in 1989 in NASCAR's Winston Cup, now called the Sprint Cup.

He became something of a fan favorite when announcers Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann routinely reported his finish in races, regardless of order of finish -- apparently, just so they could say "Dick Trickle" on ESPN.

Trickle was known for smoking during races, going so far as to drill a hole in his helmet and equip his race cars with cigarette lighters, WCNC-TV said.

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