Tim Steele, one of the top drivers in what is now the ARCA Menards Series in the 1990s, passed away peacefully Sunday at the age of 55. He had been dealing with health complications stemming from a stroke in 2022.
“This morning, my dad peacefully took the checkered flag here on earth,” wrote his daughter Kelsey Slade on Sunday. “His life was an exhilarating ride, always at full throttle, driven by a passion for racing and a wild spirit. While many knew him for his accomplishments on the racetrack, his role as a dad and grandpa was by far the greatest victory! God Speed Dad, I love you!!”
After starting his career on a motorcycle, he switched to late models before graduating to ARCA in 1993 and won the championship as a rookie. He scored two more titles in 1996 and 1997, winning a combined twenty-three races. By the time of his final season in 2006, he had won forty-one times, over a quarter of his starts in the series, including a record five in a row to close out his 1997 campaign. Twenty-four of those victories came on superspeedways, while he also has nine victories at Pocono Raceway, more than any other driver.
While much of his accomplishments came in ARCA, he also dabbled in NASCAR’s three national divisions. In 1993, he subbed for the injured Davey Allison in two NASCAR Busch Grand National Series (now Xfinity Series) races, which he parlayed into a six-race stint in the Cup Series the following year with Allison’s father Bobby Allison’s team. In 1997, he did seven Busch races for Phoenix Racing, notching a fifth-place run at Las Vegas and a sixth at Talladega. That same year, he was on the verge of moving up to the Cup Series full-time in 1998 with his father and football great Brett Favre purchasing Bud Moore Engineering and sponsorship from Nike and Sony, though a concussion sustained in a testing crash at Atlanta ended that prospect.
Steele also entered thirteen Craftsman Truck Series races in 1999 for his family team with a pole and best finish of ninth at Nazareth.