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1985

No funny stuff here ... well ... maybe some. But mainly these pages are devoted to a NASCAR driver with over 1,200 feature wins throughout the United States in All Pro, ASA, ARTGO, ARCA, IMCA, MASCAR, NASCAR, USAC, and CWRA. This guy has won more races than any other driver in NASCAR. Trickle began racing in 1958 at Stratford Speedway in Central Wisconsin by winning his first event. In 1984, Trickle won the ASA Championship, and he won it again in 1985. He has finished runner up in the ASA Championship 9 times in his career. In 1977, Trickle won the ARTGO Series Championship. He won the title again in 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1987. All told, he won 63 events and 9 championships with the series. NASCAR bought the ARTGO Series in 1998 and renamed it the NASCAR RE/MAX Challenge Series. Then in 1989 began driving as a reserve driver for Bobby Allison, and he won the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Rookie of the Year title at age 48. They call him a Legend.
Not yet, when I'm gone I'll be a legend, right now I'm just very good at what I do.
-- Dick Trickle

Born October 27, 1941 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, Dick Trickle is a veteran of several thousand late model events. A master of his trade, chassis designer and engine builder, fabricater, welder and, oh yeah, driver. Before moving to North Carolina in 1990, Dick and Darlene owned and operated their own race team in Wisconsin, sponsored by SUPERAMERICA gas stations — a division of Ashland Oil, Pabst Brewing Co., Miller High Life Co., Adolph Coors Co. — Coors Light brand, A & W Root Beer and many others. With three kids (Victoria, Tod & Chad), he now lives in Iron Station, North Carolina and runs an occasional race at the short tracks where he cut his racing teeth. Dick started racing in 1958 on Wisconsin dirt tracks. In 1972, he won 67 short track feature races in a single season.

His first experience in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series came in 1970 at age 28 when he ran 2 events. He made a handful of starts in the series from 1970-1986. He took the pole position in 1990 at Dover Downs. His best finish in the series came in 1997 at Bristol Motor Speedway where he finished 3rd. He won the 1990 NASCAR Winston Open at Charlotte gaining him a starting position for the 1990 NASCAR Winston Invitational event. From 1970 to 2002, he started 303 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Events. He had 15 top five finishes, 36 top ten finishes, and one pole.

Finished '95 season 25th in points standing but doubling his previous career best earnings. Qualified top eight at seven races, including fourths at Mountain Dew Southern 500 and NAPA 500 in final race of year. Only top-10 finish was 10th at Pocono. In 1996, drove in 16 races for three different owners, finishing in the top 10 only once. Joined Junie Donlavey as substitute for Mike Wallace for 17 races after substituting for injured driver Loy Allen. In 1997, he finished third at Bristol and fifth at Rockingham in second half of season. Failed to qualify three times and skipped road course races, or he might have done better than 31st in points. But was voted 4th most popular driver by fans of the NASCAR Winston Cup series.

In 1998, he scored second NASCAR Busch series win at Darlington Raceway and earned 8th NASCAR Busch pole position at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He was voted 4th most populat driver by fans of the Winston Cup series. In 2000, his 31st year in the NASCAR Winston Cup series - he competed with Joe Bessey Motorsports and AJ Foyt Racing (one event with Dave Marcis Racing but DNQ). He classified 51st overall in the championship.

Trickle had a bit more success in the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series. He made his first Busch event in 1984 at The Milwaukee Mile where he captured the Bud Pole and finished third. In 1997, he won at Hickory. He won again in 1998 at Darlington. Between 1984 and 2001, he started 158 NASCAR Busch Series Events. He had 2 wins, 24 top five finishes, 42 top ten finishes, and 7 poles. In 1991, Trickle won the Atlanta ARCA 500k, and from 1991-2004 he served as an IROC test driver.

Dick Trickle is perhaps one of the most colorful characters in the sport. During his time in NASCAR, Dick was famous for having a cigarette lighter in his racecars, and having his full-face helmet drilled so that a cigarette would fit in front of his mouth thru the helmet allowing him to smoke during caution laps.

I did it for a living, made a career out of it, but now I've turned it into somewhat of a hobby. I don't race a lot, half a dozen (races) a year maybe. I play with my tractors and live somewhat of a family life and just try to enjoy trying to retire sooner or later. Racing is in my blood, I can't quite get out of it yet.
What is Trickle doing these days? Trickle and his wife Darlene live on 8 acres in Iron Mountain, NC. Racing is now his "hobby". After a racing career that has spanned more than 40 years, you'll pardon Dick Trickle if he wants to back off a bit. Dick Trickle was the driver other racers couldn't wait to see at the racetrack. But he was the driver they didn't want to see on the track as he was often the man to beat at short tracks throughout the Midwest.

Trickle, a Wisconsin racer who won more than 1,200 feature races throughout his career and became a household name on ESPN's SportsCenter, died at age 71 from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday afternoon. Trickle, who was from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., inspired hundreds of racers throughout the Midwest. "I'm in 100 percent shock," said NASCAR Hall of Famer and St. Louis native Rusty Wallace. "Dick Trickle was my mentor. When I was short-track racing, I would call him every Monday morning and he would always help me with race setups and stuff. He and I had such a good time telling little stories, but he was the guy that taught me almost everything in the (Midwestern) American Speed Association. And he was the guy that I battled right to the end for my 1983 ASA championship. I barely beat the guy that taught me everything."

Trickle was a legend at Wisconsin's La Crosse Fairgrounds Speedway, which even named a race after him - the Dick Trickle 99. After winning hundreds of races throughout the Midwest, he spent more than a dozen years racing at NASCAR's highest level but never won a NASCAR Cup race. But he was the idol of many short-track racers. Known for going hard off the track as well as on it, Trickle had a working lighter in his racecars that he used to light cigarettes. "He was such a mentor to all the younger short-track drivers, to everybody," said Tim Fedewa, a Michigan racer who along with his family competed against Trickle both on the short tracks as well as in what is now the Nationwide Series. "He took the time to talk to you, to tell the stories he had, drink beer with you - just a good guy. Then you get on the racetrack and he was the man to beat."

Johnny Sauter, also from Wisconsin, was so distraught in hearing the news - he had just seen Trickle in the last couple of weeks - that he didn't want to talk following Camping World Truck Series practice Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Dick Trickle is one of those guys that was part of the sport in a number of ways," said defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski, a native of Rochester Hills, Mich. "(He) meant a lot to the local short-track racers and the Midwest style of racing, which was track by track when NASCAR was more of a regional Southern sport. He was the superstar of that style, of that genre and era. So it is very sad to see him go and obviously difficult with the way it went."

Former Cup driver and 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, who competed against Trickle, was at the Charlotte track watching his son practice when he heard the news. "When I started racing, he was one of the heroes in the sport that you looked up to," said Burton, who competed against Trickle in Cup. "Nobody could play as hard and work as hard as Dick Trickle. There wasn't many that could keep up with him." Burton remembered Trickle having a strong fan following. "Dick Trickle had a lot of fans from all over," Burton said. "Dick treated people the way he wanted to be treated. He came from that old school. He was a good ambassador for the sport."

Drivers remembered Trickle's No. 99 car showing up at the track and knowing that it would be a tough race. "He was a special dude," said former NASCAR racer Terry Cook, who grew up in Ohio and looked up to Trickle. "He was a guy that would race five or six nights a week. … He was a threat to win every single week." NASCAR Chairman Brian France remembered Trickle as a fan favorite. "Dick was a legend in the short-track racing community, particularly in his home state of Wisconsin, and he was a true fan favorite," France said in a statement. "Personalities like Dick Trickle helped shape our sport. He will be missed."

Fedewa tried to explain why. "He carried the flag for all of us Midwest racers, for sure," Fedewa said. "He was always just the best, taking time to talk to you and make you feel like somebody. The stories were the best ever. And they were true." Dick Trickle made 303 starts in NASCAR's Cup series and was known as a short-track legend throughout the Midwest.

According to the news release, Trickle called the Lincoln County Communications Center from the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C. at about 12:02 p.m. ET. He told the operator that "there would be a dead body and it would be" him. The call center tried to return the call but did not get an answer. Emergency units arrived on the scene and found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck. He was 71.

Trickle, who was from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. and raced throughout the Midwest, became somewhat of a cult hero on SportsCenter because of his name. He had lived in North Carolina since the early 1990s. Current drivers who competed against Trickle were shocked by his death. "Say it's not so. Sad news about a racing legend. Dick Trickle," Mark Martin, who raced against Trickle throughout the Midwest.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace said he owed much of his early success to Trickle. "I'm in 100 percent shock. Dick Trickle was my mentor," Wallace said. "When I was short-track racing, I would call him every Monday morning and he would always help me with race setups and stuff. He and I had such a good time telling little stories, but he was the guy that taught me almost everything in the American Speed Association. And he was the guy that I battled right to the end for my 1983 ASA championship."

Kenny Wallace, who grew up racing around the Midwest with his brothers Rusty and Mike,said that Trickle taught him some valuable lessons. Dick Trickle taught me to be me, He taught me to Justify things my way and said "Kenny keep laughing loud cause that's who you are" — Kenny Wallace May 16, 2013

Trickle, who is reported to have more than 1,200 feature wins to his credit on short track throughout the Midwest, began competing in NASCAR's Cup series full time in 1989 and ran the majority of races from 1989-1998. The 1989 Cup rookie of the year, Trickle had 15 top-10 finishes and finished third five times. "He kicked butt everywhere he went," Martin said. "I barely beat the guy that taught me everything," Rusty Wallace said. "He was a legend. A man that'd won over a thousand short track races, was one of the most winning short-trackers in America, was a role model to many short-track racers coming up. Could just do magic with the racecar and he taught me so much about racing. My success in the ASA and what Trickle taught me is what got me into NASCAR."

Stewart-Haas Racing said: "Dick Trickle was a racer's racer and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family." Among the team owners he drove for in a Cup career that spanned from 1970-2002 were Stavola Brothers Racing, Cale Yarborough, Larry Hedrick, Butch Mock, Bud Moore, Dean Myers and Junie Donlavey. Trickle also had 158 starts in what is now the Nationwide Series from 1984-2001 with two victories, at Hickory Speedway in 1997 and at Darlington in 1998. Wood Brothers Racing said: "So sad to hear about former NASCAR driver and family friend Dick Trickle. Just a sad sad deal all around. No other way to put it.."

Even noted celebrities had something to say about Trickle's death. Former ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann said Trickle got as much attention as any driver on SportsCenter. The late Dick Trickle helped mainstream NASCAR coverage on SportsCenter. We gave prominent attention to him, then his races, then ALL races. Comedian Larry The Cable Guy, who has used Trickle's name in some of his routines, wrote "RIP Dick Trickle," followed by this: Thanks for the memories. I jumped so high I hit my head on a ceiling fan when he won the Milwaukee mile many years ago.

Chuck Trickle, a former racer who lives in Las Vegas, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that his brother went to doctors twice a day for chest pain but that the cause of the problem was never determined. "It's a shock to me," Chuck Trickle said. "It's real hard to think about. He was my brother, my friend and my hero, in that order." Chuck Trickle told the Review-Journal that his brother was healthy except for the pain under his left breast. He said the two brothers talked about a week ago and Chuck knew the condition was serious when he heard his brother curse for the first time in years. "He was very down," Chuck Trickle told the Review-Journal. "He more or less said he didn't know how much longer he could take the pain."

Dick Trickle's apparent suicide continued a history of tragedy for the Trickle family. Chris Trickle, Chuck's son, was shot in Las Vegas in 1997. The aspiring racer died the following year and his case was never solved. "To lose (Dick) and to lose my son takes a lot out of me," Chuck Trickle said. "This is not easy." Chuck Trickle said his brother was so popular among race fans that "he could've run for president and won. He was there for everybody," Chuck Trickle told the Review-Journal. "He left a very large footprint on this earth."
Bob Pockrass. Dick Trickle remembered as short-track legend, mentor to Midwestern racers. Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle found dead after apparent suicide in N.C. cemetery. Dick Trickle had chest pains before he killed himself, brother says. Sporting News is an American sports website and former print magazine. After 122 years as a weekly publication, the magazine switched to a biweekly publishing schedule in 2008, and to a monthly schedule in 2011. In December 2012, the magazine announced it would go digital-only starting in 2013.


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