Retired race car driver Richard “Dick” Trickle died on Thursday at the age of 71 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police say.
The body of the NASCAR legend was found at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, North Carolina, 30 miles west of Charlotte.
Dick Trickle’s body was discovered near his pickup truck.
The victim had actually called police before shooting himself and forewarned them “there would be a dead body and it would be his”.
Dick Trickle made his debut on the NASCAR circuit in the #84 Miller High Life Buick for Stavola Brothers Racing.
His career spanned 24 years, during which he competed in a total of 2,200 races.
Dubbed the “White Knight” by his corporate sponsor SuperAmerica, Dick Trickle was said to have nabbed the most wins in short track racing.
He was named the Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s Winston Cup in 1989 at age 48.
During his racing career, Dick Trickle attracted attention when he drilled a hole in his safety helmet to allow him to smoke a cigarette as he competed.
He also installed cigarette lighters in his cars so he could smoke during races, the local news station noted.
Dick Trickle recalled in an interview with Fox Sports two years ago of a fan who came up to him while signing autographs and asked him about the cigarettes.
“He says, <<How many cigarettes did you smoke during that race?>> And I said, <<How many yellows were there?>> I said, <<One for every yellow>>.”
Dick Trickle said he quit smoking two and a half years before that interview but did it “just for no good reason”.
Sheriff’s Lieutenant Tim Johnson says foul play is not suspected.