One week removed from a second-place finish with the ARCA Menards Series at Talladega Superspeedway, Dave Mader III finished one spot better to start a night of racing at Montgomery Motor Speedway.
Mader, champion of the 1978 Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway, won the first of two Late Model Sportsman features at Montgomery on Saturday before finishing second in the latter feature. The victory was the 354th of his racing career.
“That was 354, and I was trying for 355 and came up a little short,” Mader told Speed51. “Just like we did last Saturday at Talladega. How much more exciting can it be for a 65-year-old man to still be able to win in some aspect, on a big stage and a little stage. How about that?”
Mader’s second-place finish at Talladega generated plenty of buzz and excitement among fans, especially those who have followed Mader throughout his long and storied career, from the short tracks to ARCA and even the NASCAR Cup Series, including a start in the 1992 running of The Winston.
As excited as he was to have a chance to win at Talladega, he was just as excited to see how many people were supporting him.
I can’t tell you how much that pleases me. There are no words for it. I’ve been doing this since I was 16. Here I am, 50 years later, to be able to do that, it’s all just great. I’m so blessed.
Mader was a young, 23-year-old driver when he passed Mark Martin to win the 1978 Snowball Derby. He isn’t slowing down any at all these days, with a busy season planned for 2021. Just in May, he has plans to go racing both with ARCA and in a pavement Sprint Car.
“I’m going to practice my Sprint Car Wednesday at Hickory. Then we test the ARCA car for the Charlotte race on the 10th, and I race the Sprint Car the 14th and 15th. Then we’re going to race the ARCA car on the , and then I’ll come back here after that. Goodness gracious. It feels good to be busy.”
For Mader, racing is all he’s ever known, both as his own livelihood and from growing up watching his father race. As long as he can continue to do so, he can’t think of a better place to spend his time than the racetrack.
"This is what I've done all my life. My dad was an exceptional racer. He won 430 races in 24 years. I'm at 354 in 50. I mean, it's a family tradition. It comes easiest for me, all these years. Naturally, you've got to have equipment and good people around you. It's what I've always done, and I love it, and that's why I've always done it."
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo