Legendary Short Tracker Dick Trickle Dies

Dick Trickle. (NSSN Archives Photo)
Dick Trickle. (NSSN Archives Photo)

Dick Trickle, a legendary name in short track racing in the Midwest and the 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, died Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. He was 71 years old.

Trickle was hugely successful on short tracks in the Midwest throughout his career. It is estimated he won more than 1,200 feature events during his long career, including two NASCAR Nationwide Series races. He won the Sprint Cup rookie-of-the-year title at the age of 47.

Among his career achievements were seven championships in the now defunct ARTGO Challenge Series and two ASA National Championships. He also won the 1968 USAC Stock Car Rookie of the Year Award.

Trickle made 461 starts in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide divisions during his career, including 303 Sprint Cup starts. His best Sprint Cup finish was third on four different occasions.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle on his passing today,” said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & CEO. “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.”

“I’m in 100 percent shock. Dick Trickle was my mentor. When I was short track racing, I would call him every Monday morning and he would always help me with race setups and stuff,” said 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace. “He and I had such a good time telling little stories, but he was the guy that taught me almost everything in the American Speed Association. And he was the guy that I battled right to the end for my 1983 ASA championship. I barely beat the guy that taught me everything. I’d not seen Dick as much as I’d like to of late. He was a legend. A man that’d won over a thousand short track races, was one of the most winning short trackers in America, was a role model to many short track racers coming up. Could just do magic with the race car and he taught me so much about racing. My success in the ASA and what Trickle taught me is what got me into NASCAR. That’s what got me hired by Cliff Stewart back in ’84. Between Larry Phillips and Dick Trickle, they taught me everything.”

More to come.