Remembering Dick Trickle

CONCORD, NC - MAY 17:  Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

CONCORD, NC – MAY 17: Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, climbs into his car during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2013 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.— Mark Martin says he and other Sprint Cup stars likely wouldn’t have achieved the success they have, if it weren’t for the guidance of Dick Trickle.

Trickle died Thursday at age 71 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but Martin prefers to remember the talented, ebullient driver who was a prolific winner at short tracks in the Midwest before embarking on his NASCAR career.

“Dick made himself a mentor to many–Rusty (Wallace), myself, Alan Kulwicki,” Martin said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We wouldn’t have been the racers that we were when we got here had we not come under his influence. Of course, you have to change; after a while you have to adapt to circumstances as well. I was proud of who we were and the racers we were.

“For the influence that he had on us and the etiquette and the way he raced–he raced us real hard on the race track, but off the race track, he was very free with parts or advice–he gave freely. Really, really good dude. I’m confused and brokenhearted about what happened.”

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