LINCOLN, Neb. – Opportunities to race closer to home and at more tracks got Cade Richards into a Karl Kustoms Northern SportMod.
Five feature wins and consistent top-five finishes wherever he raced landed the Lincoln, Neb., hotshoe the national rookie of the year award.
“Rookie of the year was our goal from the start,” said Richards, who celebrated his 15th birthday just two weeks before the end of the point season in becoming the youngest driver to win that award in division history. “We raced against a lot of good drivers and that helped us out. We learned a lot from good competition.”
The son of IMCA RaceSaver Sprint Car driver Matt Richards and a freshman at Lincoln East High School, he made 55 starts at 10 different tracks in four states, finishing third at Park Jefferson Speedway and US 36 Raceway, fourth at Raceway Park and 17th nationally.
Richards drove a homemade chassis his dad built 17 years ago, powered by a homebuilt engine he helped maintain. Career win number one came on July 14 at Raceway Park.
“It meant quite a bit to get our first win. We had been close at other tracks,” said Richards, who needed all of a week to take his next checkers. “It was a relief to finally get a win and then we were able to build on it.”
Raceway Park was the setting for all five of his feature wins as Richards topped the last two features there in clinching the rookie prize.
The Jefferson, S.D., track is also where he was involved in a crash and broke his left hand. Richards ran in the top five in seven of the nine races in which he wore a cast.
Starts 55 Wins 5 Additional Top Five’s 27
HIS CREW: Parents Matt and Jessica Richards, grandfather Jim Sylvester and uncle Jamie Sylvester.
HIS SPONSORS: Richards Machine and Subway at The Shoppes of Piedmont, both of Lincoln; Pro Cut Tires of Roca; Extreme Race Wraps of Beatrice; Goldfuss Racing Fabrication of Dwight; J&K Trucking of Aurora, Colo.; Bob Harris Enterprises and Race Tech Info, both of Ames, Iowa; Dirt Defender of Waxahachie, Texas; and Qualcast of Nashville, Tenn.