Concord, N.C. - He didn't win the most races or hold the most titles. But, retired NASCAR driver Dick Trickle was a mentor and a leader for the sport. He died of a gunshot wound at a cemetery Thursday. Investigators believe it was a suicide.
Trickle killed himself at the same cemetery where his granddaughter is buried. She died in 2001.
People who were fond of the driver are still trying to make sense of why such a popular driver would take his own life.
Fans at the Charlotte Motor Speedway told WFMY News 2, Trickle helped make the sport what it is today. One man who knew Trickle well broke down in tears talking about him. Everyone said he was not only a fun driver to watch, but also a good person.
"He raced back in the day when we didn't have big sponsorships. Things came out of the family pocket. The pit crew paid for the car. The driver paid for the car. They had a lot of personal goals and it was truly just all about racing," said Tara Coltman of Kernersville.
Richard Lagos of Michigan added, "He was a fiery guy, hard driver, aggressive, good sportsman and he liked his time away from the track. He appreciated fun things."
Del Coffman of Raeford said, "He was a little bit older getting his start. I remember him greatly driving the Phillips 66 car back in the day."
Friday night at 8:00 p.m., the speedway will have a brief moment of silence to pay tribute to Trickle's legacy.
Dick Trickle was 71-years-old.
WFMY News 2