Al Dantes Jr passes away aged 43

He will be remembered by his “press on regardless” spirit and approach to rally


The North American rally community has lost one of its greatest members.

Al Dantes Jr. of the Tower City Racing Team passed away in an accident last night in his hometown of L’Anse, Michigan ahead of this weekend’s Lake Superior Performance Rally.

Dantes was one of the biggest players in the grassroots rally scene, and was known for being outgoing, fun-loving and overall, one of the best people to be around at whatever rally he made it to.


A devout father and racer, Dantes found time to work on his famous LS-swapped FC RX-7, “Rexine,” while also being a father to his six daughters.

Dantes competed on his first rally at LSPR in 2007 behind the wheel of a Golf GTi, be before returning in 2012 for a longer season in a Jetta VR6. Averaging a handful of events a year, Dantes never had another absence from the sport, driving the Jetta until getting his RX-7 in 2017.

Dantes and Rexine often gave people their first chance to experience rally and get a foot in the door, such as Keegan Helwig, and Andrew Sims, who both started co-driving with Dantes.


Competing at rallies in Michigan and surrounding areas, Dantes became the 2021 ARA East O2WD champion, and currently leads the 2022 Central O2WD championship as well.

Dantes will be remembered by his “press on regardless” spirit and approach to rally, inspired by the historic Michigan rallies of the same name.

After a drivers’ meeting at parc exposé on Friday, Rexine was driven into the event by a family member of Dantes’ with Helwig in the passenger seat, where competitors and friends were able to pay their respects and sign Rexine with messages of love and support.

DirtFish extends its deepest sympathies to Dantes’ family and many friends across the world of motorsport.

Words:Mason Runkel