Fire destroys N.C. driver's shop, car
Crate Late Model racer Jacob Steele of Lawsonville, N.C., and his family lost their shop and all its contents Sunday in a fire. Steele, 17, who was preparing to enter this weekend’s Mid-East 602 Late Models season opener at Fayetteville (N.C.) Motor Speedway, told DirtonDirt.com on Wednesday that the family-owned team lost everything but his trailer.
The building, which served as a family-owned body shop and auto repair business for 40 years, started by Steele’s grandfather and later operated by Steele’s father, Randy, was used primarily as a race shop in recent years. The team lost its Warrior Race Car, its truck, a tractor, a drag truck and an ATV, as well as parts and tools collected over four decades.
“We had a chimney fire is what it was,” Randy Steele said. “The fire marshal said once the chimney fire got in that blowed-in insulation in the attic part, it just went. There wasn’t no stopping it. Then it got into the insulation in the metal building. We had a metal 30 x 50 shop attached to it that had that rolled insulation and when it got to that plastic on that insulation, they just couldn’t stop it.
“I had been out there working all day. I came in to rest for a little while because we’d been getting stuff ready to go to Fayetteville this week. I’d just got done with a big truck that morning for a friend. I had painted a truck in the front part of the shop for a friend … and it’s all gone.
“We're gonna figure out some way to start (over). We’ve just got to start from scratch. It’s gonna take a while, but one way or another, I’m gonna get him back in a car. That’s my son. That’s my pride and joy, my kid, and that’s what he loves to do. He’s raced since he was 8 years old. We don’t quit. It’s a major setback. You hate to lose everything you’ve worked for … my dad’s business. We even lost the hauler.”
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family. Mid-East 602 series officials announced donations would be collected for the Steele family during Feb. 24-27 action at Fayetteville.