Induction Year: 2004
Category: Auto Racing
Location: East Northport
Steve grew up in East Northport and was a frequent visitor to Islip Speedway, where his dad, Bob, raced his modified car. With his own equipment and team, Steve started racing modified cars himself and won his first race in 1988, and he had five victories in 1989.
His dream of becoming a NASCAR driver was realized in 1996, when Dale Earnhardt personally called him up for an interview. He became the first driver, in 1997, for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. where he tied for most wins in a rookie season and won the Busch Series Rookie of the Year award.
In 1998, he suffered injuries which caused him to miss 15 races, yet he became the first driver to run in five top NASCAR divisions at any track. In 2000, he won his first Winston Cup career race and had four third place finishes. In 2001, he earned his second Winston Cup victory and had two second place finishes, before being sidelined due to a concussion caused by an accident in that September.
In 2002, after missing the first four races of the season, he made his comeback at Darlington and qualified fourth, his best effort of that season. In 2003, he moved on to the Richard
Childress Racing Team. His best finish of the season was sixth, and he started exploring other options for 2004, where he began racing #62 Dodge for Orleans Racing in the Craftsman Truck Series.