Tuesday, March 14, 2006
From Walt Wimer
Bobby Cain of Weedsport, N. Y. was elected to the DIRT Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005. Cain is a veteran driver who began racing at the tender age of 16 (well before go-carts, dwarf cars and NASCAR development contracts!!!) and raced for some 58 years. Over his long career, Cain has raced a ton of dirt tracks. a few paved ones and along way the old beach-road course in Daytona Beach, Florida and at Watkins Glenn. He drove about anything with wheels on it. Mostly Sportsman and Modified coupes, but also Super Modifieds, Midgets and Sprint Cars. He even ran a sports car once at Watkins Glen.
Around central New York he was known as the "Quaker Shaker" due to Cain being a native to the Pennsylvania Dutch country in the eastern part of that state. He began his career at the Hilltop Speedway in Lebanon, Pa where the Lancaster native ran against the famed Dick "Toby" Tobias. He raced Midgets for a while and then into stock cars, winning a race at the famed Reading Fairgrounds well before that track became famous, and raced at other now well know tracks such as Williams Grove, Lincoln and Susquehanna in his early days. His racing got interrupted when he served two years on the front lines in Korea. After his military duty he moved south to Key West, Florida where he built a car and raced at Hialeah Speedway, a paved track which just closed last year. He then moved to New York and began running many tracks such as Waterloo, Weedsport, Lancaster and Fulton when that track was known as Mil-ray Speedway. He started running at Weedsport shortly after the track opened in 1955 and finally won his first feature there in July of 1964. He ran some URC Sprint Car races around 1962 and then came out with a very controversial car that was more or less a Super-Modified with a Falcon body. He won many races with that car until it was retired in 1971. He was Waterloo champ in 1966 and won the Weedsport title in 1970. As his driving career was winding down he began helping several other drivers on their "late model" cars. But being the owner of a garage and machine shop, working on cars didn't give him near the satisfaction of driving them, so Cain went to racing Sprint Cars with the Empire Super Sprint Series, with just his wife Linda as his pit crew. In 1984 he got his first ESS win at the Meritville Speedway in Canada. Then he won at his "home track", Weedsport, in 1987. That year and the next he won three more Sprint races at Brewerton and the Devils Bowl in Vermont. He sold his ESS car in 1997. But he was not about to quit driving when, at age 67, he bought another Sprint Car and began making trips down to western and central PA. During those years he appeared at most western PA tracks such as Mercer, Sportsmans, Challenger, Tri-City and Lernerville as well as Clinton County to the east. When elected to the DIRT Hall of Fame in 2005, the "Quaker Shaker" was still racing well into his seventies.
The photo here was taken in 1971 at Weedsport during one of my visits to that track. The car is a rather hacked on 1936 Chevy coupe that I think may have been the replacement for the famed and controversial Falcon bodied car. Nothing fancy here, just a bare bones old coupe that was once the backbone of the sport.
The info here is from the DIRT Motorsports release by Gary Spaid for Cain's induction to the Hall of Fame in May of last year.