On Thursday, authorities found retired racecar driver Richard "Dick" Trickle dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in Lincoln County, North Carolina. He was 71.
The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call, apparently from Trickle, 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.
The first emergency units arriving at the scene found the body lying near Trickle's pickup truck.
Trickle's first NASCAR race was in 1970. His last was in 2002, after he had logged more than one million laps. Throughout his career, he won two American Speed Association championships, seven ARTGO championships, and Rookie of the Year honors from USAC and the Winston Cup.
He was long described as a throwback — "like stock car drivers used to be, before they started making a ton of money," one teammate told Sports Illustrated in 1989.
Trickle was also known for smoking while racing — he even drilled a hole in his safety helmet to do so.
Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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