Veteran race car driver David Steele was killed in a crash at the Desoto Speedway Saturday night. Steele was racing in the Southern Sprint Car Shootout Series at the popular track on State Road 64 in Bradenton.
According to investigators, Steele's vehicle made contact with the right rear wheel of another sprint car, causing his vehicle to spin 180 degrees before hitting the barrier wall.
Officials said Steele suffered severe injuries and was pronounced dead.
Steele's heart belonged to his family and racing said friend and fellow racer Joey Aguilar.
"He was one of the guys I respected more than anybody on and off the race track," said Aguilar.
Aguilar said Steele made a living out of racing. He owned his own parts store and would help make sure every racer got to the track on time.
"He would tell me that’s because he was racing with them and he wanted to make sure they weren't racing all over the place," he said.
"We sat up crying most of the night. I woke up crying. The sport has lost a very great person," said Aguilar.
Friends and family joined in Manatee County as he attempted to win his 100th Florida race.
"I was joking with him last night when he came to get his pace weight in. I was joking around and said are you going to win tonight? He said I'm going to give it my best shot," said track malignance man Jack Briggs.
Briggs watched as Steele crashed.
"Everything happened in slow motion. It didn't really tear up his car that much. It was just things that happen in the car. You don't know how things are," he said.
According to FOX Sports, Steele made starts in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Verizon IndyCar Series in the late 1990's and early 2000's, but had since returned to his short track roots where he had enjoyed a variety of success in Silver Crown, sprint car and midget car racing.
Steele was a two-time Silver Crown champion and was attempting to win his 100th Florida race Saturday night.
The Desoto Speedway posted a statement on Facebook after the crash:
"Desoto Speedway owners and staff are saddened by tonight's 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."