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Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle dies aged 71

Dick Trickle dies aged 71Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The 71-year-old's body was found at a cemetery in Boger City, North Carolina early on Thursday afternoon.

Local media report that the county emergency services centre received a call that appeared to be from the victim saying that "there would be a body and it would be his".

Attempts to call the number back were not answered.

Trickle carved himself a reputation as a specialist on short tracks, and won multiple short-track titles during the late 1960s and mid-1980s.

He was named NASCAR Winston - now Sprint - Cup rookie of the year in 1989 at the age of 48, making him the oldest driver to receive the honour.

Although he never managed to win at NASCAR's highest level, he registered 36 top 10 finishes and claimed two wins in the Busch Series. His last NASCAR start was at Dover in 2002, although he continued to make occasional appearances at local races in the years that followed.

Aside from his prowess as a driver, Trickle was known for having a hole drilled into his helmet and cigarette lighters installed in his race cars so that he could smoke during races.

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