(CNN) — Richard “Dick” Trickle — who made a name for himself as a NASCAR driver — died Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, a North Carolina sheriff’s office said.
A Lincoln County dispatcher received a call — believed to have been placed by Trickle — that “there would be a dead body and it would be his,” that county’s sheriff’s office said in a news release. There was no answer when authorities tried to call the number back.
Emergency units went to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City and found a body lying near Trickle’s pickup truck.
The Wisconsin-born Trickle, 71, raced during the 1970s and 1980s, then broke through as a full-time and widely recognized NASCAR driver in 1989. At that time, according to a Sports Illustrated article, the 48-year-old grandfather of two was hardly new to the sport — having won some 1,200 stock car competitions in 31 years of racing.
Trickle had his most high-profile success in the 1990s, before retiring. It was in the early 1990s, too, that he settled in Lincoln County in central North Carolina, according to the sheriff’s office.