Story By: MIKE WARREN / WORLD OF OUTLAWS – CONCORD, NC – After a year of fine-tuning his new Longhorn Chassis, Cade Dillard is eager to bring it back on the road with the World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Late Models in 2024.
The Robeline, LA driver will kick off his fifth season with the Series at Volusia Speedway Park during DIRTcar Sunshine Nationals (Jan. 17-20), riding the momentum of three straight top-10 finishes at the end of 2023.
“We’re ambitious,” Dillard said. “We’re ready to go. This is probably the most excited I’ve ever been to get a season started after finishing last season out with some better runs.
“More than anything, I was just trying to figure out what I like. I felt like toward the end of the year, things were getting better.”
Dillard switched to Longhorn before a stop at Mississippi Thunder Speedway in May and won a preliminary Feature event on night one of the Dairyland Showdown. However, the change didn’t translate to success everywhere. He and his team spend most of the season learning what the new chassis likes and what adjustments they needed – ending the year 10th in points with two top fives and 17 top 10s.
While he’s found comfort with the car, Dillard knows there’s still a challenge ahead when he gets to Volusia in January. He had a strong run during the track’s Late Model Palooza in 2021, leading 14 laps and finishing second. But since then, he hasn’t been able to crack the top five at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”
“That’s always been my toughest part of the year,” Dillard said. “It seems like I get myself behind every year. It’s the kind of place I haven’t really had much success at. I know one night it looked like we had the win and ended up in the top three. But I’m excited to go there with this Longhorn and we seem to be good on bigger tracks. So, hopefully, we can unload and have some speed.”
When the tour gets rolling nationwide, two tracks he’ll have circled on his calendar are Boothill Raceway in Greenwood, LA, where he’s won twice in a Late Model, and Rocket Raceway Park in Petty, TX, where he’s won in a Modified.
Both venues are the closest he’s raced to home since joining the tour for the first time in 2019.
“It’s cool to get to race around home more than anything,” Dillard said. “To see some local tracks on the schedule that I’ve ran at and had success at has me excited. And we’re ready to get going.”
Dillard’s ambition for success is one he shares with his team. Long-time crew chief Donnie Pederson and tire specialist Colbey Richman will continue to travel with Dillard when the season kicks off in January. The team has worked well together over the past year, and Dillard said he believes it’s one of the keys to success.
“In the past we haven’t had enough help, or it’s been me and Donnie (Pederson) most of the time,” Dillard said. “With Colbey (Richman) on tires and Scottie (Dubois) is here at the shop. He builds my Modifieds for me, but he helps on our Late Models with anything we need done. It’s a really good group of guys right now.”
Dillard kicks off his fifth World of Outlaws CASE Late Models season at Volusia Speedway Park during Sunshine Nationals, Jan. 17-20, where he hopes his fine-tuning pays off for his first win at “The World’s Fastest Half-Mile.”