The career accomplishments for veteran modified driver Dave Cain speak for themselves.
309 career feature wins. 2012 Wissota national championship. Two-time Wissota 100 winner (2004 and 2018). Past winner of major events such as the Red Clay Classic (twice), Hibbing Labor Day Shootout (multiple times), Punky Manor Challenge of Champions, Minnesota Mod Nationals (three times) and I-94 King of the Dirt (twice).
Add to that five track championships at historic Cedar Lake Speedway, the 2011 Como Mod Series Championship and the 2014 Advantage RV Mod Tour championship and you have a career that is the envy of many – and one that isn’t nearly over for the Corcoran, Minn., veteran.
What is behind the long stretch of success for the 50-year-old?
“Hard work, that’s it,” Cain said. “It takes hard work on both ends. You’ve got to work hard to make money to pay for it and you’ve got to work hard on the stuff…there’s plenty of work out there. I worked three jobs for 15 winters so I could afford to do it every year. It didn’t just fall into my lap.”
The hard work, whether in the shop or working extra jobs to fund the racing operation, has led to a racing career that only a small group of Wissota Modified drivers can lay claim to. Cain will be at I-94 EMR Speedway in Fergus Falls this Friday for the Bob Gierke Memorial, a race he won in 2020, a race that usually attracts a stout field of modifieds.
Cain started in the sportsman division in the early 1990s at I-94 Speedway in Sauk Centre. He moved to the modifieds in 1995 and has been in the class ever since. And for many years, he's a threat to
He has 40 wins since the 2017 season, including five this year. He had one win in 2022 but it was at the USMTS Mod Wars at Ogilvie Raceway. He’s been in the top five in 17 of 29 starts this year, which is his third season in a Longhorn Chassis.
“We were struggling the last year. We’d get better, and then we were getting worse. I think we’re really good right now,” Cain said. “Staying there is hard. Getting back there is even harder. We really struggled for a little bit.”
And of the 309 career feature victories, there is one win that stands out – from 2004.
“Wissota 100 at Cedar Lake. There was 110 cars. It was the one everybody wanted to win, always,” Cain said.
Any races that he hasn’t won that he’d like to win?
“I’d just like to win a feature at Superior,” Cain said. “We’ve been close.”
Cain’s son, Jacob, is his long-time crew chief and the two have traveled thousands of miles together. Jacob operates a very successful race car wrap business, Cain Designs and Wraps, and you can see his work on many race cars in the region.
“If I remember right, I think he’s missed one race, maybe two, since we started going together,” Cain said. “We’re together a lot.”
"He's one of the smartest and hardest workers I know and it shows on the racetrack and in his own business with his customers. Without his influence in this sport, I wouldn't have been able to start my own business doing graphics," Jacob said. "His success in this sport, traveling all over the country, has given me the platform to succeed and make a living designing race cars and other products within the racing industry."
Jacob says hasn’t missed many races in his career – a heat race at the Wissota 100 in Huron (he drove there after high school and made it as the cars were scaling), a weekend in Hibbing (he was at a baseball tournament) and one night when Cain drove Shane Sabraski’s super stock at KRA Speedway in Willmar.
"Racing with my dad week in and week out, traveling thousands upon thousands of miles across the country has definitely shaped my life," Jacob said. "Without his influence on me to get into this sport, I wouldn't be where I am today without him."
The 2023 season is well past halfway, and invitational season isn’t far away. That’s often where Cain has shined the most with bigger money on the line.
“Just to win some more invitationals would be nice,” Cain said. “Just keep knocking off top fives. When you’re knocking off top fives, you can win. We’re there.”
Wissota Modified #2C
Residence: Corcoran, Minn.
Sponsors: Wollak Construction, SD Erectors, Wehrs Machine, Longhorn Chassis, Kelly Iverson Trucking, Quality Freight Rate, Jamie Davis Plumbing, TRE Race Parts, Speedwerx, Cain Designs and Wraps, Old World Meats, French Lake Auto Parts, Randy Hanson Racing Engines, Cain Farms, Afco Racing, Bassett Racing Wheels, FastShafts