Thursday, May 16, 2013

DICK TRICKLE'S SAD ENDING


I didn't know much about NASCAR, but thanks to Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, I knew
who Dick Trickle was. Every Sunday night, when they were the self-proclaimed, "Big Show"
of SportsCenter, the tag team partners used to describe stock car highlights with all those drivers doing left turns at 200 miles an hour. Trickle never, ever won a race, but Olberman and Patrick
made sure to tell us where he finished, "Dick Trickle, 'the man', finished 37th out of 38 drivers." Sunday night's became appointment viewing just to hear those two guys utter "Dick  Trickle"
which was usually followed by the words: finished. dead. last.

The colorful ESPN co-anchors helped Dick Trickle become a cult hero on the NASCAR circuit,
even though he never won a single race in over 300 starts. They just loved saying his name and
telling everyone how badly Dick Trickle finished. Oh, Trickle had his moments, winning Rookie
of the Year at the ripe old age of  48, but his highest-ever finish on the big boys circuit was
a third.
 

On Thursday, the entire sport and probably Patrick and Olbermann, as well, are mourning the
loss of the 71-year old driver. Trickle took his own life, the victim on an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. It was a sad and tragic end for one of the most well-liked drivers in the history of the
sport. 

Trickle, who grew up in Wisconsin, may not have had a lot of success on the NASCAR circuit,
but he was a legend on the short-track, winning more than 1,000 races, including 67 in 1972.
Despite his success on the short track, Trickle morphed into the Bob Uecker of NASCAR.

TrickLe, like Uecker, poked fun at himself and became more famous for losing, than other drivers
become for winning. He did a commercial for NAPA Auto Parts in 1997 where he stated that fans
could win $100,000 if they pick the winner of the NAPA 500 races and said, "A little tip...it's
gonna be me!" A graphic pointed out that "Dick is 0 for 243 in Cup races.


I'll always remember the man's name, and I'll never forget the sad way in which he died. Trickle
made a call to the communications center near his home in North Carolina, saying."there would
be a dead body and it would be his." Emergency personnel found Trickle at a cemetery lying next
to his pick-up truck.

There is no way to know what was going through the mind of Trickle, and there are no answers
when it comes to suicide. But we do know that Trickle was loved in the world of racing and he
will be missed.


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