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Driver Dick Trickle Dead at 71

Donald Miralle/Getty Images(CONCORD, N.C.) -- Retired stock-car driver Richard "Dick" Trickle died on Thursday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Trickle, 71, called the Lincoln County Communications Center to tell them that "there would be a dead body and it would be his."

Emergency units found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck when they arrived.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle on his passing today," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement. "Dick was a legend in the short-track racing 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."

Trickle's impact on the sport of racing influenced many, including Sprint Cup series driver David Ragan.

"He was the man," Ragan told ABC Sports Radio on Friday.  "He was very good at what he did and it's sad to have him leave."

Trickle, who was a force on the short-track, recorded about 1,000 victories in feature races and was the rookie of the year in NASCAR's premier series in 1989.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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