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World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series

WoO racer staying busy with new venture

May 2, 2020, 8:49 am
By Jordan DeLucia
World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series
Cade Dillard's race shop. (@CDillard97)
Cade Dillard's race shop. (@CDillard97)

While most of the motorsports world has been idle the past few weeks, World of Outlaws Morton Buildings Late Model Series regular Cade Dillard hasn’t been taking it easy.

Dillard, 29, of Robeline, La., opened up a brand-new race shop in December to house both his own cars and those of his new customers at Cade Dillard Racing, which he now operates as a full-time speed shop for service, parts and sales to Dirt Late Model and open-wheel modified competitors.

During this time away from the track racing his own cars due to the coronavirus pandemic, Dillard has been hard at work with his crew members preparing new customer cars for the 2020 racing season.

“Once I got the new shop built, there’s been times in the past couple months where we’ve had nine or 10 cars in there at one time,” said Dillard, who drove his Shane Sprinkle-owned No. 97 to his first-ever WoO triumph on Jan. 5 at Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park. “It’s opened up a lot of opportunity for me.”

Dillard and his crew of Donnie Pederson and Ryder Cantillo are the main assets at the shop, joining forces in the assembly of new cars, maintenance, setup and scaling. A longtime customer of MB Customs Race Cars — owned by brothers Jimmy and Chris Mars of Menomonie, Wis. — Dillard acquires the bare frames directly from MB Customs and then assembles the rest of the car from ordered parts and sets them up according to his custom package.

According to Dillard, there’s several reasons why he’s stuck with the Mars brothers’ creations throughout his career. In fact, Jimmy has been one of the biggest inspirations to him as a driver.

“To my career, in general, he’s been a huge influence on me,” Dillard said of the standout veteran who owns multiple crown jewel victories. “He’s been extremely helpful, and I definitely wouldn’t be where I am right now with all of this if it wasn’t for him. He’s been very supportive of what I’m doing with CDR.”

As a former modified star himself, Dillard said he sees a few more modified customers in his shop compared to Late Models. He’s used to working on modifieds from all the time he spent behind the wheel of them before his Late Model ventures began just three seasons ago, and that experience comes in handy when assembling the new ones.

“Just having a lot of experience and success with them at a lot of places across the country, I kinda know what works, and there’s just so many MB Mods out there,” Dillard said. “They sell so many of those, so that helps a lot as well.”

When they roll out of the shop and into the customer’s hauler, each car receives a small decal that reads “MB Customs by CDR.” At heart, it’s the car just as the Mars brothers created, but with Dillard’s little intricacies that represent the things that he sees will work best for his customers.

“We’ve already got a few small things, as far as the frame goes, that I do different to my mods,” Dillard said. “As far as getting to build the frames, I feel like (MB) has such a good product there. I don’t want to mess with a good thing.”

This has been an operation Dillard has envisioned himself doing for many years, but it just never fit into his schedule or budget until recently.

“It’s definitely always been something I’ve wanted to do,” Dillard said. “Before, with the shop I had, it just wasn’t possible to do that. I just didn’t have the room.”

All of the work has certainly kept Dillard and his shop crew busy, especially in times like these. In years past, Dillard said he did not have as much time (or space) to take on side projects of this size. But now with the big shop, it’s easier than ever to work the day job he loves.

“It keeps me spread out,” Dillard said. “I’ll go work for a couple of hours on some cars, after that spend a couple hours at the desk getting some paperwork done. I definitely enjoy it.”

In the days immediately following February’s DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., Dillard and his wife, Shelby, became proud parents to a second addition to their family as they celebrated the birth of a son, Caden. Dillard has become quite the family man with two small children and said spending time at home has become a staple in his daily life outside of the race shop.

Even with the impact social distancing and public gathering restrictions has recently had on all business levels, Dillard said CDR’s business has actually picked up quite a bit now that his customers have found the time to bring their cars to the shop for service. He’s been taking full advantage of the business boom and feels fortunate to keep all of his employees paid in such struggling times.

“It’s kinda been a lifesaver with all that’s going on right now, not being able to race or having any income coming in off of my winnings,” said Dillard, who is scheduled to return to WoO competition on May 15 when the series resumes at Boone (Iowa) Speedway. “It’s been a blessing to have this, to have some income and pay the pay the bills around there and keep my guys busy.”

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