BAKERSFIELD -- Friends are remembering Steve O'Neil, a race official who was killed by an out-of-control race car at the Bakersfield Speedway.
"I would tell people he is crisp on the outside, but kinda crunchy in the middle,” said Dave Miller. “But, he had a heart of gold. He would always make sure everybody is safe.”
On Saturday night at the speedway, a race car spun out of control. It hit the concrete safety barrier and skidded alongside the barrier like a skateboard. O’Neil was standing where he was supposed to be, right behind the barrier watching the race when he was hit. He later died at Kern Medical Center.
"He really encouraged you,” said friend Joel Leal. “Just in a roundabout way he really cared about everyone he came in contact with."
O’Neil was an avid diver and also a skydiving instructor. Friends told 17 News he did any activity at 100 percent and lived life to the fullest.
"I am going to miss the guy,” Miller said. “He has been a big part of people's lives. He's affected a lot of people in a good way."
Miller and Leal told 17 News one of O’Neil’s wishes was to have his friends dive to the sunken Canadian ship, The Yukon, off the coast of San Diego to spread some of his ashes.