Authorities in North Carolina said former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71. The Lincoln County Sheriff's...

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Auto racing

Ex-NASCAR driver

Trickle dead at 71

Authorities in North Carolina said former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71.

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The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said authorities received a call believed to be from Trickle on Thursday saying that “there would be a dead body and it would be his.” Authorities tried to call the number back, but no one answered.

The sheriff said Trickle’s body was found near his pickup truck at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, N.C., about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte. Foul play is not suspected.

Trickle was the Winston Cup series rookie of the year in 1989 but never won a Cup race. He won two Busch Series races.

“Personalities like Dick Trickle helped shape our sport,” NASCAR CEO Brian France said in a statement. “He will be missed.”

Horse racing

Orb gallops at Pimlico

Kentucky Derby winner Orb remains on track for the Preakness Stakes on Saturday in Baltimore, where a win would set the stage for a Triple Crown try three weeks later in the Belmont Stakes.

While a media frenzy is building around the Pimlico stakes barn where Orb is housed, both the colt and Shug McGaughey, his trainer, remain unflappable.

Orb went out Thursday morning for a routine gallop with regular exercise rider Jenn Patterson aboard.

Fillies take center stage

A Hall of Fame trainer and the winning jockey in the Kentucky Derby will join forces Friday in the Black-Eyed Susan, a Grade II race for 3-year-old fillies at Pimlico in Baltimore.

Bob Baffert will saddle Fiftyshadesofhay, who has lost two straight Grade I races since capturing the Grade III Santa Ysabel in January. Joel Rosario will be aboard Fiftyshadesofhay for the first time. She is the second favorite at 2-1.

Bill Mott will oversee Emollient, who has won two of three starts this year. Emollient is the 9-5 morning-line favorite.

Tennis

Nadal struggles

Six-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain overcame one of the worst opening sets of his career to edge Latvian qualifier Ernests Gulbis 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 and reach the Italian Open quarterfinals in Rome.

Hockey

U.S. beats Russia to reach world semifinals

Paul Stastny had two goals and two assists, and Craig Smith added five assists to help the United States rout Russia 8-3 in the world quarterfinals in Helsinki.

The Americans will face Switzerland, a 2-1 winner over the Czech Republic, on Saturday in Stockholm. In the other semifinal, Sweden, which knocked off Canada 3-2, plays Finland.

Soccer

Donovan left off U.S. roster

Landon Donovan was left off the 29-man U.S. roster for a training camp ahead of a trio of World Cup qualifiers next month, but American coach Jurgen Klinsmann anticipates Donovan will rejoin the team at some unspecified point.

NFL

Reports: Gronkowski needs more surgery on forearm

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is scheduled to undergo a fourth surgery on his left forearm next week, according to reports on ESPN.com and NFL.com. The fourth surgery had been considered “very likely” since Gronkowski suffered an infection in the left forearm earlier this year.

Elsewhere

• A warrant was issued for the arrest of former NFL receiver Chad Johnson in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for failing to report to his probation officer.

• The Jacksonville Jaguars added former New England defensive lineman Kyle Love off waivers.

• The Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who sat out the 2012 season after he was suspended as part of the New Orleans Saints’ bounty scandal.

Doug Whaley was promoted to take over as Buffalo Bills general manager.

• Germany’s Jens Voigt won the fifth stage of the Tour of California in San Luis Obispo, and Tacoma native Tejay van Garderen surprisingly took the overall lead.

• Sprinter Mark Cavendish of Great Britain won the rainy 12th stage of the Giro d’Italia in Treviso for his 100th career victory, while Vincenzo Nibali of Italy maintained the overall lead.

• Tulane said former baseball player Stephen Martin Sr., the first black athlete to play any varsity sport in the Southeastern Conference, has died at age 66. Martin played center field in 1966.

• Former Arizona State guard Evan Gordon, who averaged 10.1 points last season, will transfer to Indiana and be eligible immediately.

• Boston Marathon organizers said runners who couldn’t finish this year’s race because of the explosions at the finish line can come back next year. The invitation applies to more than 5,000 people.

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