Dick McCabe was born at Webber Hospital in Biddeford and grew up in the same house in which he still lives on School Street. His father, grandfather and great grandfather are all also from Kennebunkport. McCabe graduated from Kennebunk High School and worked as a mechanic for a couple of years. He joined his father in the trucking business, taking it over in 1971 after his father passed away. His cargo would change over the years. Government quotas imposed on redfish from Canada in 1995 meant that McCabe would switch from bait fish to trucking the road salt, coal, and other commodity items he continues to transport to this very day.
McCabe got into racing when, at age fourteen, he built his first race car—a ’36 Chevy six-cylinder “Bomber” coupe—and had someone else drive it until he became old enough. McCabe recalls that at Scarborough’s Beech Ridge Speedway, he had to be eighteen to compete but that “in Dover, they didn’t care about my age.” Joining NASCAR North in 1976, he was known as “The Irish Angel” and competed against the likes of Stub Fadden, Beaver, Robbie Crouch, and Bobby Dragon. He won back-to-back NASCAR North Championships in 1981 and 1982, also setting the NASCAR North record for the most top 10 finishes in a season. He won an unprecedented four consecutive Oxford Plains Open Championships from 1981 to 1984. All the while, he maintained his trucking routes and felt his job was an asset to his racing career. Sportswriters have noted that McCabe’s cars would often bear artwork advertising McCabe Bait. McCabe moved to the Busch North Series, where he again won consecutive championships in 1992 and 1993. He owned his cars for several seasons but other owners and sponsors in his eleven-year Busch Series career included Moore Racing, DMR Yachts, Fisher Snow Plows, Car Connection, and Hi-Torque Engines. He made his last start in 1994 and retired from racing in 1995.
He was inducted into the Maine State Athletic Hall of Fame and ushered into the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame in 2002. Reflecting upon racing, McCabe says, “It’s kind of going the way of pro football or baseball [in that] it’s kind of a show business now. When I was in it, it was known as a ‘redneck sport’. . . but in reality there were a lot of nice guys.” McCabe was featured in the January 2008 issue of Down East magazine.