“His nickname was ‘Smiling Dave.’ The track was his happy place,” said longtime friend and colleague Jordan Levitt.
David Flores was a fixture with NASA Northeast, a dedicated husband and father, and an indefatigable humanitarian. He passed away last month at age 46.
After several years as vice president and later president of the BMW CCA’s NY Chapter, David Flores began scouting other organizations to find his racing fix. He sought a home with more to offer. After Stu Phillips recruited him in 2018, David began his association with NASA Northeast, running several lapping events and remaining, for the most part, inconspicuous.
“We had no idea his level of experience,” Joe Casella recalled.
One Saturday night before anybody really knew much of David, he stepped up to the grill and offered to help. “He ended up cooking 140 hamburgers and hot dogs — that was his M.O.,” Casella said.
NASA Northeast is a formidable group of racers and instructors that doesn’t allow just anyone to join its ranks, but David managed to impress and assimilate in the matter of a month. It was David’s generosity and cheery attitude that helped him become a part of the machine faster than most, but it was his tenacity that helped him advance from helper to leader.
David became instructor administrator in short time alongside chief instructors Jordan Levitt and Rick Myers. “When you’re an admin, you give up a ton of time — the role requires selflessness, plain and simple. Some get burned out pretty fast, but he kept offering more. His commitment was something else,” remarked Levitt.
His positive, reassuring nature helped bridge any gap between him and the new initiates, and his standards for excellence ensured he left an indelible mark on everyone he guided through the HPDE program.
“He stayed until everyone’s questions had been answered in as much detail as he could muster. If he had a tidbit of information that might help a student, he would gladly share it with them. In fact, he seemed to share everything he knew. He felt it was his responsibility to pass the torch and bring in the next generation.”
“He was captivating. When he led a class, you could hear a pin drop,” said Casella.
David was more than just committed to his student’s improvement. He had a caring, calming effect on his students and friends who were struggling with nerves. He was empathic, a man able to read a room accurately. Not surprisingly, he was soon promoted to assistant chief instructor.
Father to Anjali and Bodhi, David was a committed family man, loving husband, and a doting father. He is survived by wife Chrystel Flores (nee Portugues); his daughter Anjali Danger Flores; his son Bodhi Trouble Flores; his sister Nina Flores; his brother-in-law Marcus Kroll; his godson and nephew Mads Kroll; his niece Eden (Pansy) Kroll; his uncle Felix Flores; his aunt Maria Flores, his cousins Jessica Flores-Aguilar, Nicole Flores, goddaughter Laura Flores; and the hundreds of racing enthusiasts he touched.
Those looking to support David’s family can consider making a donation to the family’s GoFundMe page.