Earl Baltes, the founder and longtime promoter of Eldora Speedway, has died. He was 93.

Speedway officials say Baltes died Monday at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

Eldora owner and three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart says Baltes "was the yardstick other track promoters measured themselves by. He constantly raised the bar, and he did it by creating events everyone else was afraid to promote. He did them himself, too."

Steward added it was a time without "major sponsors or millions of dollars in TV money."

Baltes built Eldora, nestled in rural west-central Ohio, in 1954 and slowly shaped it into a showplace for dirt motorsports. Eldora races were shown on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" with Keith Jackson and Al Michaels as broadcasters.