Concord, NC (Sports Network) - Retired race car driver Richard "Dick" Trickle passed away Thursday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71.
According to the Lincoln County, N.C., sheriff's department, the incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. ET at Forest Lawn Cemetery off 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.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle on his passing today," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement released by the sanctioning body. "Dick was a legend in the short-track racing community, particularly in his home state of Wisconsin, and he was a true fan favorite. Personalities like Dick Trickle helped shape our sport."
Trickle achieved much of his success on short-tracks, where he won more than 1,000 races throughout his career, before joining the Winston Cup series and earning rookie of the year in 1989 at age 48.
Trickle was winless in 303 starts at the Cup level over a 24-year career. He never won a race on NASCAR's biggest circuit but had 36 top-10 finishes.