DESOTO, Fla. — Veteran sprint car driver David Steele has died during a race in Florida.
Desoto Speedway officials said in a Facebook post on Saturday night that track owners and staff were saddened by the crash. The statement says Steele was trying to win his 100th race in Florida.
A Manatee County Sheriff’s Office report says Steele was driving a sprint car when his vehicle’s left front wheel struck the right rear wheel of another car, causing Steele’s vehicle to go up in the air, spin 180 degrees and hit the retaining wall.
Medics attempted to treat him but he was pronounced dead. He was 42.
NASCAR driver Kyle Larson expressed condolences to Steele’s family after Larson won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race at Fontana, California.
The 24-year-old Larson grew up watching Steele on “Thursday Night Thunder,” an ESPN series showcasing United States Auto Club (USAC) racing.
“Dave Steele was always the man when it came to pavement racing,” Larson said. “I got to watch him win a lot on TV. I didn’t know him personally very well, but I was lucky enough to be teammates with him one time at New Smyrna when I ran a USAC midget race there. He was a very quiet guy. I just remember it being an honor to be a teammate with him that night because he was so good at pavement racing. I knew we were going to be good, and we got the win. That was cool, to get to spend a little bit of time with him that weekend.”
Larson called Steele “one of the greatest-ever USAC racers.”
NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne tweeted that Steele was “one of the best and such a good guy to hang out and have a beer with.”