David Steele confirmed dead – Driver attempted to take his 100th Florida win tonight at Desoto Speedway
David Steele, veteran sprint car driver and USAC National Champion lost his life tonight. He was killed in an on-track racing incident on March 25th, 2017.
At age 42, David Steele unloaded for the Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series event at Desoto Speedway. Tonight he could have claimed his 100th win, in the state of Florida. Desoto Speedway is a 3/8 mile asphalt track in Bradenton, Florida. Billed as ‘The South’s Fastest 3/8th Mile Short Track’ it’s a high banked bullring.
Around 10 PM the track broke news on the crash. Asking for support from fans, “Please keep the injured driver in your thoughts and prayers. We will update as soon as possible.”
About an hour later things had taken a turn for the worst. The track offered a brief statement on the passing of the USAC National Champion.
Stating, “Desoto Speedway owners and staff are saddened by tonights passing of David Steele in the Sprint car feature. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends who were all in attendance, to see him try to win his 100th florida race.”
Tonight, David Steele was driving the #33 sprint car. From behind the wheel of his winged sprint car he found himself in a race for position on track. It was his last battle.
His racing career began in 1981, in Karting at age 7. He became a permanent short track driver. Steele made a name for himself driving all the ‘badass’ stuff. Twitchy, sensitive cars with lots of horsepower and quick lap times.
He even had a brief career in NASCAR. He netted a best finish of 23rd NASCAR Busch Series. The famed open-wheel driver also gave INDYCAR a try. However, he was a short track legend and that’s where he returned.
NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne on David Steele, “One of the best and such a good guy to hang out and have a beer with. Praying for his family”
Tony Stewart Racing also offered thoughts on David Steele, “Our prayers go out to the family & friends of Dave Steele. Our former teammate, he was one of the best open-wheel drivers of this era with a pure gift for pavement racing. A true champion, Dave was not only beloved by the racing community but by his family. Please keep his wife, Lynn, and their children in your thoughts. Godspeed, Dave”
David Steele was a USAC Silver Crown Champion. He claimed series titles, twice. First in 2004 and again in 05. He’s ranked 14th on the all-time USAC wins list. He picked up 60 wins between 1996-2007. Robin Miller, writing on SpeedTV.com, once declared the Tampa native “arguably the best pavement racer in USAC’s long history.”
“It’s hard to put the loss of Dave Steele into words,” USAC series director Levi Jones stated. “He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent on the track, but even more impressive was the man, the dad and husband he was. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”
Steele trails only Jack Hewitt and Brian Tyler on the USAC Silver Crown career wins list. He has more USAC Silver Crown pavement laps led and more wins on pavement, than anyone. His first Silver Crown win came in 1996 at Memphis Motorsports Park.
He was also a 5 time winner of the Little 500. A prestigious event hosted at Anderson Speedway. The track is a quarter mile high-banked paved short track in Anderson, Indiana.
David Steele wasn’t done. In 2016, David Steele won the opening 5 races of the Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series. All 5, in a row. He also won the last Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series event on February 25, 2017. That win was claimed at 417 Southern Speedway in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Dave Steele was also the owner of Steele Performance Parts. The company is based in Florida, offering racing parts for all forms of motorsports.
In lieu of flowers, to make a donation, people may direct their contributions to the USAC Benevolent Foundation website at www.usacbf.org/give. Checks should be made out to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of David Steele and mailed to 124 E Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.
David Steele Crash Video
March 25, 2017