Dick Trickle, standing in the garage prior to the inaugural NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 5, 1997, died of an apparent suicide on May 16, 2013. (L M OTERO, AP)
CHARLOTTE (USA TODAY) - Former racer Dick Trickle, a colorful character who won hundreds of short-track races across the Midwest, died Thursday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The Lincoln County Sheriff's Office told USA TODAY Sports authorities received a call believed to be from Trickle on Thursday saying "there would be a dead body and it would be his." A 911 operator tried to call the number back, but no one answered.
Trickle's body was found near his pickup truck at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C., about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Lt. Detective Tim Johnson said foul play is not suspected and said a note was found by the body. Further information - including the contents of the note and what type of gun was used - will not be released.
"We're trying to protect the family as much as possible, and they had just gotten notified right after it happened," Johnson said. "We're trying to respect their privacy."
The sheriff's department said Trickle had lived in Lincoln County since the early 1990s. He was 71.
Trickle was the Winston Cup Series rookie of the year in 1989 but never won a Cup race in 303 starts. He won two Busch Series races.