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A tragic exit

Everyone's looking for the "why" now, two days after legendary short-track racer Dick Trickle ended his own life with a shotgun.

The answers, or at least a definitive one, likely will never come. The memories come far more readily.

For me, it goes back to a summer afternoon at Michigan International Speedway in the late 1980s, media day for the upcoming NASCAR race. Dale Earnhardt was there, wearing (incongruously) a sea-foam green shirt. And Dick Trickle was there, taking media members for rides around MIS in a Cup car with a passenger seat bolted into it.

What I remember about that is the way Trickle would keep a cigarette burning between trips around the track. And the fact he was wearing, um, cowboy boots. And the way he kept shooting sidelong glances at you as we tore around MIS at speed, checking to see if you were peeing down your leg yet.

I'm proud to say that didn't happen to me.

And profoundly sad that Trickle will never have the chance to try it again.

Ben Smith's blog.

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