I wasn't a race fan growing up. Oh, I knew who Richard Petty was, and I watched the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 every year, but local, short-track racing didn't interest me and I never made it out to State Park Speedway on Thursday nights. But it was impossible to grow up in Central Wisconsin and not know who Dick Trickle was. Before his name became a running gag on Sportscenter, Trickle was a a short-track legend in the Midwest amassing around 1,000 wins in feature races. And if your track had guys like Trickle dueling with the Tom Reffners and the Marv Marsofkas of the world, you would fill the bleachers.
Trickle was found dead Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a cemetery in Boger City, NC. He had lived in North Carolina for quite a while after making his run on the NASCAR circuit in the late 80s and early 90s. Trickle won only one race on the big circuit but he was named Rookie of the Year in 1989 after six top-five finishes and nine top 10s. But it was his success on the short-tracks all over the Midwest and his mentoring of younger drivers that cemented his legacy.
Hopefully he has found peace from whatever demons led him to this final checkered flag.