IRVINGTON, Ala. – You have probably heard him on Saturday mornings hosting a local racing show on the radio or have watched his traffic reports on television. What most don’t realize, however; is that Derek Kane Long is a regular competitor in the Bomber class at Mobile International Raceway every other Saturday night- and does so to raise awareness for some major causes.
Currently third in the points standings, the 2014 season has had its share of ups and downs for the Indiana transplant. Almost missing the start of the season due to his car not being finished in time, Kane had to rely on his former team in order to be ready for the season opener. Since then, he has shown great speed throughout the year, but has been unable to score his first win due to mechanical issues.
Despite the disappointments, there is a silver lining for Long. Each race week, his gold and black No. 5 has been faster than it was the week before.
This past weekend, a visit to Mobile’s victory for the first time appeared to be in the cards, but the familiar mechanical gremlins reared their ugly heads once again.
“I think we were really close with the race this past weekend, but we had fuel pump issues,” said Long earlier this week. “We would dive down into (turns) one and two and the car would shut off. I would physically have to crank the car back up to get it going again. If it wasn’t for that, we would have had our first win.”
“I really want to stand in that victory lane,” he continued. “There have been a lot of famous people, from the Allison’s up, that have stood there and I would be honored to have my name on that list. Whether it is a heat win or a feature win, obviously we want a feature, but BJ (Leytham) has been dominating that area and I think we have something for him.”
Sure, Long has yet to score that elusive first win at Alabama’s fastest half-mile, but he has been able to take away a great deal of satisfaction from his racing efforts.
What most do not realize about the Indiana native is that he races to fund and raise awareness for major causes- including the United States Fire Department Racing, and his Warrior Kids program.
“United States Fire Department Racing is based out of Kannapolis, North Carolina and we have several drivers around the country that fly their colors,” said Long. “It’s a team where we race to bring awareness and funds to volunteer fire departments around the country. I was a volunteer fireman for Fort Morgan when I first moved down here. I have a lot of respect for them- I wish that I could still do it, but I just don’t have the time now with my schedule.”
“If they are having a fish fry, we will bring the race car out,” Long continued. “I mean, what kid doesn’t like a race car?”
On top of that, Long, with the help of his wife, Michelle, also race to raise awareness for childhood cancer. If you have ever made the trip to MIS to attend one of the track’s races, you may have noticed the handprint stickers that adorn the c-post region of his racecar. Each of these stickers resembles one of Long’s Warrior Kids- a child who is battling cancer.
Track PR – Photo provided by track