BRADENTON, Fla. — Versatile racing veteran David Steele was killed Saturday night when his sprint car crashed a Desoto Speedway.
Steele, who was 42, was competing in a winged sprint car event on the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval, when he reportedly crashed the No. 33 he was driving while racing for position in the Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series event.
Steele made his name racing open-wheel cars in Florida before moving to the Midwest and finding success in USAC. From there he went on to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series before returning to his short-track roots. Steele also raced in the ARCA Racing Series and Indy Lights.
A winner of numerous USAC midget, sprint car and Silver Crown Series races, Steele claimed back-to-back Silver Crown championships in 2004 and ’05.
Steele was also a two-time winner of the prestigious Turkey Night Grand Prix midget race.
Steele ranks 14th on USAC’s national win list with 60 victories between 1996 and 2007. Steele was dominant on the pavement tracks, which accounted for all 60 of his USAC national wins. Steele’s win totals rank in the top echelon of USAC’s record book. His 16 Silver Crown wins are the third most all-time while his 26 Sprint Car victories rank 15th and his 18 Midget wins put him 35th on the list.
“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.”
In 2002, Steele put on one of the most memorable performances in USAC history when he won two midget features in one night at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. After winning the first feature, Steele started the second event from 22md. Steele took the lead by lap 12 and won the 25-lap nightcap for a $50,000 payday.
Steele won the most recent Southern Sprintcar Shootout Series feature at Florida’s 417 Southern Speedway on Feb. 25.
Steele was a three-time Tampa Bay Area Racing Ass’n sprint car champion.