BOGER CITY, LINCOLN COUNTY -

A moment of silence will be held Friday night at the Charlotte Motor Speedway to honor Richard "Dick" Trickle. The well-known race car driver died Thursday in an apparent suicide, according to Lincoln County officials. He was 71 years old.

Trickle was found dead shortly after noon Thursday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, Lincoln County deputies said. The cemetery is a place of significance for Trickle's family: his granddaughter was buried there after she was killed in a car accident in 2001.

Investigators said they received a 911 call from Trickle saying, "There would be a dead body and it would be his."

When emergency crews arrived at the cemetery, they found Trickle dead by his truck. Deputies said he shot himself.

Investigators said they did find a note near Trickle's body, but wouldn't say what was written on it.

Trickle is considered the all-time winningest driver in short track history after claiming victory in more than 1,000 races. He was awarded Rookie of the Year in 1989, his first season racing full-time in the Cup Series. Trickle made 303 starts at NASCAR's top level.  He never won a race, but did have two wins in the Nationwide Series.

NASCAR Chairman Brian France called Trickle a legend in the short track racing community and said his personality helped shape the sport.

"He did not reach the cup level until he was late 40s. I think he was around 48 when he won rookie of the year, which is very old as athletes go. But he could hang in there with the young guys," said NASCAR Hall of Fame Director Winston Kelly.

Fans and those who knew him best say Trickle was a tremendous race car driver who could take on any opponent.

"I just loved to watch him because he'd take risks that nobody would take," said race fan Mike Eckhoff.

The Trickle family has asked the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office to not release any more information until the investigation is over.

So far, there's no word on funeral arrangements for Trickle.

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