Ed Cain had decided that May 11 afternoon that due to being fatigued by a long and hard work week and what he envisioned as bleak prospects for a good performance in the Sportsman feature at Ransomville Speedway that evening, he made the decision to stay home from the races that night.
That is until he arrived home around 4 p.m. and found that his brother Jim and friend Mark Gross had already loaded the car for the tow to Ransomville.
Cain changed his mind and went racing. It is a good thing he did because a few hours later, the Newfane based driver was standing in victory lane in a historic event that has redefined his career and given a giant boost to supporters of the crate engine concept.
Cain proved both to himself and the Ransomville racing community that the crate engines could race into victory lane.
"It's true that on the way home from work that day I decided to skip the racing that night," revealed Cain. "I didn't honestly think I would do that good with the new crate motor this year at Ransomville because Ransomville is a bigger horsepower type track and I quite honestly didn't have faith in it.
"What I've found out is that the opposite is true and thanks to rules that make the crate motors competitive with the open motors, these crate engines, as I proved, can do the job. Two weeks after my win, I started 17th and with a few laps to go in that race I got to the front and was battling Greg Martin for the lead when we brushed wheels and I got a flat tire."
Cain is a veteran racer who has limited racing funds. After a successful career racing with Billy "Zoomer" Krull in Go-Karts in the early 1990s, he spent years in asphalt racing. With a bunch of top fives on the asphalt but no wins and with his budget a major concern, Cain returned to the dirt a few years ago. This year switched from the more expensive open conventional engine to the cheaper crate engine.
"In the race I won, I was leading Steve Miller, Don Spatorico and Steve Schumacher with just a few laps to go and they all have open motors. I just kept my car in the low groove where it was running good and tried to be calm behind the wheel. I have a note taped to my dashboard that says 'Be calm and be smooth'.
"I said that if they are going to beat me, they're going to have to go around me with their open motors on the outside lane. They never did and when I passed under the flag stand to get the checkered flag it was a big day for me and for crate motors. In fact, writer Dave Sully now calls me the poster child for the crate motors and what they can do."
With Cain grabbing his first career Sportsman win and running well each week, he is now looked upon as a legitimate threat to contend in any race. He has suffered accidents the last few weeks but is committed to pressing on.
Cain says he switched to crate engines this year because in the 2008 season, Dirt.car - the sanctioning body for racing at Ransomville - is set to mandate that the Sportsman class will be a total crate engine division and conventional open engines will be outlawed.
It is not clear whether Ransomville management will follow the Dirt.car course next season or cancel the sanction for the Sportsman division and still allow the open engines.
Cain says that whatever direction Ransomville management decides to take next year is fine with him because the current rules involving car weight equalization, rev chip limiters and other factors keep the crate engines competitive with open engines.
He says that about four or five Sportsman teams currently use crate engines, including top runner Jipp Ortiz.
When Cain had an open dirt Sportsman engine he paid about $7,500 and top engines used by other teams were worth as much as $15,000. Cain bought his crate engine for $3,200 and with the needed add-ons, it totaled $4,500. SST Sportsman open engines used on asphalt cost about $15,000.
Cain also says that the tire bill for the dirt racing is much cheaper with one set of tires used per month. When he was competing on the asphalt, at least two new tires were needed every week.
Drags rule Sunday
Lancaster Raceway Park hosts the Kumho Warriors drag racing program at 5 p.m. Saturday and the Pro Modifieds, Super Stocks, Hot Rods and Box-No Box classes will provide for a full day of drag racing Sunday beginning at 11 a.m.
The stock cars are off at Lancaster until the Tommy Druar Memorial Modified 50 on Aug. 4.