I heard this name a couple of months ago, and I was highly amused by it. Now that I have read about Richard "Dick" Trickle, I feel a bit bad about finding his name so hilarious.
was a famous race-car driver. About the only things I know about car
racing are that it involves cars and racing to finish first, so bear
with me here.
It seems that Dick specialized in short-track
racing. According to some estimates, Dick was in over 2,200 races and
won more than 1,200. That sounds pretty amazing to me. Baseball players
are considered good if they can bat .500, and Dick has that beat.
was born on 27 October 1947 in Wisconsin. At the tender age of 8, he
fell and broke his hip. He had to wear a cast, covering his body from
waist to foot, for three years! His recovery was so slow that his
doctors thought he would end up a life-long invalid, but Dick was able
to walk again, albeit with a slight limp.
It was while he was
still in a cast that he saw his first car race. He never forgot it.
Although Wikipedia doesn't say so, I like to theorize that he was so
mesmerized by the cars because he saw in them a way to get around
without walking (he was still in a cast at the time, remember). If I
were writing a screenplay of his life, little Dick would say something
to that effect. Get on it, Hollywood!
As a teen, Dick worked
some in a blacksmith's shop. He learned a great deal about machinery. In
the late 1950s, Dick would purchase regular cars and turn them into
race cars himself. I'm impressed by this. I thought all race-car drivers
did was drive fast cars; I didn't realize that some drivers also built
them. Way to go, Dick!
At first, Dick mostly raced within
Wisconsin. In fact, he had a day job for a few years before he decided
to race full time. Even then, Dick was still largely doing his own car
work, although he sometimes had help with the engine.
He was, obviously, a successful racer. In 1968 he was the USAC
Stock Car Rookie of the Year. In 1989, he made his NASCAR debut, winning
"Rookie of the Year" at the Winston/Sprint Cup. He was 48 years old,
and he made a joke about it, saying "I guess I’d just like to thank
everyone who gave a young guy like me a chance". He won a NASCAR race in
1990, but was more of a top-ten finisher than a number one racer. But
that's pretty good, especially since he had already finished a full
Apparently, Dick was a committed smoker. He had a hole drilled in his safety helmet so that he could insert a cigarette.
Dick committed suicide on 16 May 2013. Dick shot himself around noon at
a cemetery in North Carolina. Before killing himself, he had called the
police to report his own suicide, although he had not left his name.
Dick's family released a statement saying Dick had been in chronic pain,
and, despite consultations with many doctors, had been unable to find
relief. Dick was only 71.
Dick was survived by his wife,
children, and grandchildren. Some of his family, however, predeceased
him. According to Wikipedia, he had a nephew who was killed in a
drive-by shooting and a granddaughter who was killed in a car accident
(and buried in the cemetery in which he committed suicide). That's a lot
of tragedy for one family.