MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The racing world is mourning the shocking death of a local Sprint car driver. David Steele died in a crash at the Desoto Speedway over the weekend that was caught on video.
He’s now being remembered in Tampa and across the country.
On Saturday night, David Steele, driving car #33, tried to get off to a fast start in the opening lap. He collided with another car, going airborne, spinning 180 degrees and slamming into a wall.
“A lot of fans just sat there kind of in shock over what they just seen,” said witness David Shireman.
Just minutes earlier, Steele was taking pictures with fans and signing autographs.
“Everybody would know him as Superman,” recalled friend Joey Aguilar.
“He was a big deal,” Aguilar added.
For years, David Steele competed across the country, was regularly featured on national television and recently completed his 100th Florida win.
He wasn’t just a good racer, he was a good friend.
“I looked forward to racing because Dave…brought out the best in you, not the worst in you,” said Aguilar.
Steele was a mentor to many drivers, and he also owned an auto parts shop. If anyone needed a part he would gladly give it to them, even if they couldn’t afford to pay it.
“He’s a fierce competitor, and he wants to win like you do, and he races against you, but he’s trying to help you,” said Aguilar.
Condolences poured in from throughout the racing world, including tributes on Twitter from Nascar racers like Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne.
“When Nascar lost Earnhardt, Nascar has never been the same. It’s the same way with Superman. Sprint Car racing will never be the same,” said Aguilar.
The tight-knit racing community will host a fundraiser for David Steele’s family at the Showtime Speedway in Clearwater on Saturday.
They’re providing ride-alongs, hoping to raise $30,000 to help contribute to the college fund for David’s three children.
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