Dick Trickle, a retired NASCAR driver who Tom Cruise’s character was based from in “Days of Thunder”, has committed suicide at the age of 71.
Trickle’s body was found on Thursday, shortly after he called police and calmly told the 911 operator “there would be a dead body and it would be his”.
The 71-year-old seemed to be very calm during the 911 call, giving the operator the address of his location and that he was “”on the back side of it. By a ’93 pickup. There’s gonna be a dead body…It’s suicide”.
The operator asked if Trickle was there and the driver responded, “I’m the one.”
The frantic operator tried to stop Trickle, begging him to “listen to me” but Trickle just repeats “150 Forest Lawn in the back by a Ford pickup” before hanging up.
The body of the retired race car driver was found at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, North Carolina, 30 miles west of Charlotte. His body was discovered near his pickup truck.
It is not known why he chose the cemetery as the location to end his life.
He was found near his pickup truck with a suicide note nearby.
Trickle, 71, had been in tremendous pain with mystery ailment and was seeing doctors twice a day.
His brother, Chuck Trickle, said his late brother had discomfort under his left breast and “didn’t know how much longer he could take the pain”.
“It’s a shock to me”, Chuck said. “It’s real hard to think about. He was my brother, my friend and my hero, in that order. He was very down”.
During his racing career, Trickle made a name for himself when he drilled a hole in his safety helmet to allow him to smoke as he raced.
Trickle made his debut on the NASCAR circuit in the #84 Miller High Life Buick for Stavola Brothers Racing.
His career spanned 24 years, during which he competed in a total of 2,200 races. Trickle was named Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s Winston Cup in 1989 at age 48.
Former NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine said of Trickle, “It’s all just sad. We don’t understand why he would do this. Hopefully we will all learn why he would do that. There was something that triggered him to take his own life. We are all really saddened by this in the racing community.”
Bodine adds, “People everywhere knew his name. That’s why they used his likeness in that movie Days of Thunder. He was such a character.”
The main character in that popular niche racing movie, played by Tom Cruise, was named Cole Trickle.
When Trickle was asked how he hoped to be remembered in his interview two years ago, he stated, “I just want to be who I am and satisfied that I had a great career. I’m happy with it. I think I made a lot of friends.”
In a statement, NASCAR said, “Dick was a legend in the short-track community, particularly in his home state of Wisconsin, and he was a true fan favorite. Personalities like Dick Trickle helped shape our sport. He will be missed.”
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