(AP) NASCAR community mourns death of Dick Trickle
By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
Mark Martin received a piece of advice very early in his career from Dick Trickle that he’s never forgotten.
The NASCAR garage was full of Trickle stories on Friday, a day after the 71-year-old racer died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. An old-school driver with an odd name, and a guy who earned an almost cult-like following among fans, Trickle was mostly remembered Friday for his role as a mentor to many drivers who went on to have far greater success in NASCAR than Trickle ever achieved.
A short-track star from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., Trickle was believed to have won up to 1,000 races while inspiring hundreds of racers throughout the Midwest. Among them was Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, a St. Louis native who toured the same Midwest circuit and raced Trickle down to the wire for the 1983 ASA championship.
Martin said he, Wallace and the late Alan Kulwicki, a Wisconsin native, owed their success to Trickle.
Audio released Friday by the Lincoln County (N.C.) emergency dispatch center revealed a calm Trickle stating his location in the Forest Lawn Cemetery, and telling the dispatcher where to find a `93 pickup truck.
The call ended as the dispatcher said she was sending help.
Trickle’s brother, Chuck, told The Las Vegas Review-Journal that his brother had been having constant chest pains, and his obituary posted on the website for the Warlick Funeral Home in Lincolnton said doctors could not find the source of “severe chronic pain.”
Trickle is survived by his wife, Darlene, three children and three grandchildren.
Trickle didn’t move full time to NASCAR until 1989, when he was 47 years old. He made 303 career starts in the Cup Series, and although he never won a Cup race, he scored two wins in the second-tier series.
His death shocked 2003 NASCAR champion Matt Kenseth, a Wisconsin native who last spoke to Trickle last July after Kenseth won a Late Model race at Slinger Speedway.