Q-and-A with Dave Dotter, Illiana Speedway
August 30, 2011 7:04PM
Dave Dotter. | Tony Baranek~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 4, 2011 6:11PM
Dotter, 49, of East Hazel Crest, has been involved in racing as a driver and car builder for 35 years. He built six cars that are competing in the turbo stox division at Illiana Speedway. He is the son of longtime ARCA star Bob Dotter and the brother of former Nationwide and NASCAR truck driver Bobby Dotter.
Your passion seems to be car building rather than driving. Why?
I’ve always had the passion for working on cars. I’ve never considered myself to be the next Eddie Hoffman or next Frank Gawlinski. Generally, I get more pleasure out of helping other people. Driving myself, I can’t focus on doing that.
Back in the day, did you ever race against your brother?
I raced against him about 23-24 times in 1980 in the late-model division at Raceway Park and Boswell Speedways.
Your most vivid memory?
The only race I was going to win in my rookie year was a trophy dash at Raceway Park. He spun me out on the last corner of the last lap. Bobby and David Weltmeyer both asked me, “Why did he do that?” I said, “Because he could.”
Bobby left the Chicago area, but you stayed and are considered one of the greatest benefactors for local racers. Why didn’t you choose his path?
The money just wasn’t good enough for me to leave. I had a good job, and I thought it wouldn’t be fair to my wife and children to pick up and move to North Carolina. I had one opportunity in 1984. Maybe I should have, maybe I shouldn’t have. But I know, in my eyes, that I couldn’t be the guy there that I can be here.
So, no regrets?
At the end of the day I feel pretty good about it. I help the people that can’t afford to go to the professional shops. Hopefully they’ll become better racers and better mechanics on their cars.
As told to Tony Baranek