L’ANSE, Mich. (WZMQ) – A tragedy that struck L’Anse, the Lake Superior Performance Rally has lost one in the family.
Michigan State Police released last night that rally driver Al Dantes Jr. passed away in an explosion at a L’Anse gas station.
Around the track, everyone has an Al story filled with memories of his smiley personality. As a racing family, everyone knows everybody, and all these drivers and team included grow more like family through the tough times.
“This just stretches all of our hearts to lose him ’cause he’s. Like I said I’ve been doing this for a long time. These guys are all my kids,” said LSPR family member Beryl Ann Burton.
As ralliers, Beryl said these races bring everyone together, but this tragic time is a tough one to get through. A father of six, Al was known widely in the racing community as the life of the party, and his family’s hearts are sore. Al’s family has also started a Go fund page in assisting his daughters.
The LSPR raced for his memory.
“We just saw him last night, we went to go see the Marquette Mountain stage to do our reconnaissance,” said Santiago Iglesia, who was close to Al.
Saturday’s stage takes place on Menge Creek Rd., right past the scene of the tragedy. Drivers are unable to maneuver around it and will drive right by the gas station where Al was killed.
“There’s no way around it, and it’s in the route book,” said Robert Cassel who used to co-drive with Dantes.
Al was a driver for speed and agility but also knew how to be safe. These rallies are really dangerous and especially in slippery conditions, and the drivers know that. A lot of these drivers say this sport is for the fun of it, and the family comes along for every ride.
“We’ve been sharing lodging for a few years now, and it’s kinda hit but kind of hasn’t hit yet it’s almost uh, not believable”.