- 05.17.13 06:48 PM EDT
Richard "Dick" Trickle is dead at 71. Trickle was a famed short-course driver who hit it big in the NASCAR scene in the '90s. He was found Thursday in North Carolina, with a fatal, apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Trickle was famous for a larger-than-life personality and was beloved in the sport of racing -- an outpouring of grief and tribute from fans and racing legends has popped up in reaction the news of his passing. Trickle is perhaps best summed up by this iconic video of the driver smoking a cigarette in the Winston 500 while he drives a stock car with his knees. He smoked through a specially cut hole in his racing helmet.
Trickle was NASCAR's rookie of the year in 1989 when he was already 48-years old and a grandfather, after a long career throughout the '70s and '80s as a short-track driver. He logged thousands of races and is credited for breaking the million laps mark. After breaking into the NASCAR scene, he went to race in over 300 Cup races. He never won, but had 15 top 5 finishes and something of a cult fan following.
He was born in Wisconsin in 1941.