Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle died Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities in Boger City, N.C., said. He was 71.
Lincoln County sheriff's Lt. Tim Johnson said authorities received a call, apparently from Trickle, who said "there would be a dead body and it would be his." Authorities tried to call the number back, but no one answered.
Trickle's body was found near his pickup truck at Forest Lawn Cemetery. Johnson said foul play was not suspected.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle," NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Brian France said in a statement.
"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. He will be missed," France said.
Trickle earned his reputation as a successful short-track driver before joining the Winston Cup series and earning rookie of the year in 1989 at age 48. He competed in more than 300 Cup races.