Dick Trickle sounded extremely calm for a man planning to kill himself when he called 911 yesterday and told the operator, "There's going to be dead body ... suicide."
TMZ has obtained the 911 call made by the NASCAR driver moments before he shot himself. In the call, Trickle gave the dispatcher very detailed instructions about where to find the body at Forest Lawn Cemetery in North Carolina.
When the dispatcher asked Trickle if he was calling about someone else, Trickle replied, "No, I'm the one."
The operator begged Trickle to wait for help ... but her pleas went unanswered.
When emergency personnel arrived at the scene, Trickle's body was discovered right where he said it would be.
Officials say Trickle died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
NASCAR'S Dick Trickle
Driver Left Suicide Note
5/16/2013 1:33 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
2:44 PM PT -- NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France just commented on Trickle's death ... saying, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle on his passing today."
"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."
2:28 PM PT -- We're told ... Trickle's body was removed from the cemetery and has been transported to a nearby hospital.
2:17 PM PT -- Multiple sources who knew Trickle tell us he had been sick for a while and depressed. We're not sure what kind of illness Trickle had been suffering from.
1:51 PM PT -- Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Trickle did leave a suicide note at the death scene. The contents of the note are unclear at this time.
Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle is dead ... apparently having taken his own life with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71 years old.
Cops in North Carolina say Trickle shot himself at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Lincoln County at 12:02 PM today.
Officials say they received a phone call before the shooting in which the caller said there would be a dead body at the cemetery and it would be his.
Operators scrambled, trying to place a return call, but there was no answer.
When emergency responders arrived, they found Trickle's body near his pickup truck.
Trickle was a fan favorite in NASCAR -- often smoking cigarettes while he raced.
Dick won the NASCAR "Rookie of the Year" award in the Winston Cup in 1989, when he was 48 years old.
Trickle was also beloved by the gang on "SportsCenter" -- Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick used to almost always report his race results -- no matter how poorly he finished -- just because they were amused by his name.
Olbermann just tweeted ... "No sports figure Dan + I had fun with took it more graciously. In fact, gratefully."
He added, "Trickle helped mainstream NASCAR coverage on @SportsCenter We gave prominent attention to him, then his races, then ALL races."
Should Fight Each Other!
3/26/2013 12:02 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Racing legend Darrell Waltrip thinks NASCAR should follow in hockey's footsteps ... and let drivers punch out their differences -- and each other -- after races. Beats left turns, right?
Check out TMZ on TV -- click here to see your local listings!
NASCAR's Kyle Busch
I Need 'Anger Management'
From Charlie Sheen
3/25/2013 6:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Kyle Busch -- one of NASCAR's famous hot-heads -- has signed on for some professional help from Charlie Sheen ... on his TV show, "Anger Management" ... TMZ has learned.
Sources connected to the show tell us Busch just signed the deal -- in the last 30 minutes -- to play himself in one episode of the FX comedy. He'll be seeking counseling ... we presume for road rage ... from Charlie's character.
Busch -- the most successful driver, in recent years, for Joe Gibbs Racing -- has more than earned his nickname ... "Wild Thing" with his antics on the track ... and off.
We're told Busch wanted to do the guest spot because he's a "giant Charlie Sheen fan" ... and loves the show.
Awkward 50 Cent Kiss
Was My Fault!
3/2/2013 6:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Don't blame 50 Cent for the awkward encounter he had with Erin Andrews at the Daytona 500 last week -- the hottest woman in sideline reporting says the blame lies squarely with her.
During the big race last Sunday, Erin was searching for Danica Patrick (to no avail) when she ran into Fiddy and ... well, it was weird.
But yesterday at LAX, Erin told our photog she was so frazzled in the moment ... the entire encounter was totally her fault and she's actually good friends (and even business partners) with 50.
The old "it's not you, it's me" -- we've heard that one before.
Do You or Do You Not ...
PEE IN YOUR RACE CAR?
2/27/2013 12:50 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
It's the biggest question Daytona 500 champ Jimmie Johnson -- and every other NASCAR driver -- faces during a grueling 3-4 hour race ... HOW DO YOU GO TO THE BATHROOM??? And JJ actually gave us an answer.
Jimmie -- who was out in NYC yesterday -- told TMZ, "Some guys just go." Yes, in their pants.
But the 5-time Sprint Cup champ adamantly denied ever wetting himself, adding ... "I never have. Of course I wouldn't do that."
SURE YOU WOULDN'T.
As for whether Jimmie ever gets carsick -- the answer is yes, but you'll be shocked to hear how and when he goes green ... in the face.
Van Halen Singer:
I Was ABDUCTED
3/21/2011 3:00 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Former Van Halen front man Sammy Hagar has officially spaced out -- in fact, the guy actually claims he was abducted by real-life aliens several decades ago ... in Fontana ... and they had their way with his brain.
Hagar tells MTV, “It was real. They were plugged into me. It was a download situation … or, they uploaded something from my brain, like an experiment ... They were tapped into my brain and the knowledge was transferred back and forth."
Hagar insists the whole thing went down in Fontana, CA -- home to a NASCAR track.
According to the ex-rock star, it wasn’t his first extra-terrestrial experience either -- claiming he saw his first UFO when he was just four years old, hovering over a field near his home.
And just so we're clear, this isn't a joke -- Sammy insists, "That happened. That friggin’ happened."
Crash and Burn
2/13/2010 3:05 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Race car hottie Danica Patrick made her NASCAR Nationwide Series debut today, but she didn't make it to the checkered flag -- a wreck on lap 68 knocked her out of the race.
Patrick's green #7 got caught in a pileup coming out of turn four at Daytona International Speedway, and she couldn't avoid the wreckage in front of her.
At least she got her first Daytona wreck out of the way.
And at least she's still hot.
Danica Patrick Busted Again
12/29/2008 7:31 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Indy race car driver Danica Patrick has yet to learn that the funny little pedal on the left is the brake.
Cops confirm Patrick was busted earlier this month in Scottsdale, Ariz. for driving 54 in a 35 -- 19 over the speed limit -- which bested her last run-in with the fuzz where she was going 57 in a 40 -- only 17 over.
Danica received a citation and is due in court at the beginning of January.
8/27/2008 12:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Danica Patrick isn't just dangerous behind the wheel of an Indy car, cops say she also posed a threat on the mean streets of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Court docs which show the race car diva was popped by Scottsdale P.D. back in January for doing 57 in a 40 mph zone. But here's the kicker -- Danica was ordered to take defensive driving school to get the ticket dismissed!
Guess the class worked -- because 40 days after Patrick finished her court-ordered traffic class, she won her first Indy race.
Those Red Asphalt videos really do work!