Derek Kane Long still can’t believe that he convinced a multi-time NASCAR Regional Champion like Dave Mader III to drive his car in the Alabama Pipe and Supply Modified Division at Mobile International Speedway.
In fact, it was only supposed to be a one-time thing but after a third-place finish in the season-opener on Apr. 6, Mader and Kane Motorsports are back to chase the season championship. And if a podium on their first attempt seemed impressive, consider that it was before shaking down the car.
Now the team has had a full month to prepare and is ready to mount a challenge against Brandon Howell, Donnie Hamrac and the rest of last season’s contenders.
“Having a four time NASCAR champion drive with your team is amazing,” Long said. “Just watching him work on the cars has been a learning experience in itself. He has over 40 years of racing experience and has taught us all a lot in a short time. We hope to land one more sponsor and if we do that we’ll be set with the modified for the rest of the year.”
The 50 something-year-old Mader has raced all over the country and in a variety of different disciplines including several starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After all the wins and success, maintaining the high standard that he’s set for himself is what continually points Mader back to the cockpit from season-to-season.
“I’m still doing this for the same reason that I started it in the first place – I want to win,” Mader said. “When the day comes that I don’t have that drive or the opportunities to visit victory lane, we’ll consider something else but I’m still having a lot of fun.”
Both Kane and Mader expect this to be a successful program moving forward and could visit a variety of Southeastern short tracks for the remainder of the season. The duo has already targeted the championship at Mobile International Speedway but could chase trophies in Pensacola and Montgomery as well.
In short, neither age nor complacency is slowing down the Gulf Coast veteran and that could pose a serious threat for everyone else competing in a modified this season at Alabama’s Fastest Half-Mile.