Remembering sprint car standout, INDYCAR vet Steele

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Veteran short-track racer Dave Steele died March 25 in a winged sprint car racing crash in Bradenton, Florida. He was 42.

Steele, a two-time USAC Silver Crown champion, made three Verizon IndyCar Series starts in 1998 – two of which came with Panther Racing. He also attempted to qualify for the 1999 Indianapolis 500 with Panther Racing, which was co-owned by current Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles.

Boles took to Twitter to share his thoughts.

Devastated we've lost Dave Steele tonight. One of my favorite sprint car drivers & a guy who drove for us at Panther. Prayers for his family

Steele, a native of Tampa, Florida, made his name on the pavement short tracks of USAC in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. He ranks 14th on USAC’s national win list with 60 victories between 1996 and 2007 all on pavement and had recently won his 100th sprint car race in his home state. He won the Turkey Night Grand Prix  as well as the Little 500 twice and both midget and Silver Crown portions of the Copper World Classic. 

Despite only competing in half the races, or less, on the schedule throughout most of his career, 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.

Steele, who completed his INDYCAR rookie test in 1996, also made two starts in Indy Lights, finishing eighth in his series debut at Michigan in 2002.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

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