The clean history between defending Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North champion Cassius Clark and series front-runner DJ Shaw’s was swept off the table Sunday afternoon as the two battled for the win in the Hight Chevrolet 150 at Speedway 95 in Hermon, Maine.
Clark of Farmingdale, Maine used a bump-and-run on Shaw during the final lap of the 150-lap event to score his first victory of the 2014 season. Following the checkered flag, the two cars made contact that resulted in Clark’s No. 77 making hard, driver’s side impact with the dirt banking in turn one.
Despite finishing first and second on the race track, the events that took place at the conclusion of the race left both drivers frustrated with what had occurred.
“He turned left, right-reared me, and put us down into the bank wide open driver’s side too,” Clark told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “My leg is all messed up. My arm is all messed up. It’s probably not going to be a fun rest of the year for him I’d think.”
While Clark was furious over what he believed to be non-incidental contact after the checkered flag, Shaw considered it to be a case of two drivers battling for the win and running out of real estate.
“I think as soon as he hit me we both just stood in it,” said Shaw, of Center Conway, New Hampshire. “I didn’t let off and neither did he. We came together and ran out of real estate. I was kind of surprised that he’d do the bump-and-run like that, but it is what it is. I don’t think neither one of us liked the outcome of what happened.”
According to Clark, he had attempted to make his way to the outside of Shaw’s No. 60 for a number of laps but was continuously run off the backstretch as he attempted to make his move for the race lead.
Although the two drivers had never had bad blood between them prior to Sunday, Clark believed that Shaw would have made the same type of move on the last lap if the roles were reversed.
“I figured I’d have to go around him on the outside the whole time and then he started running me off the backstretch for three or four laps in a row,” said Clark. “I just settled in behind him and gave him a bump-and-run coming to the checkered on the last lap. If that’s how he wanted to run, and that’s how he races everybody else, then I certainly had no problem doing that to him.”
After exiting his wrecked car in turn one after the race, Clark attempted to run across the infield to confront Shaw on the backstretch, but was stopped by race officials. He would turn around and walk to victory lane to accept the winner’s trophy and checkered flag. Shaw was sent to the pit area in order to avoid any sort of confrontation in victory lane.
The events that transpired after the checkered flag had Clark’s blood boiling in victory lane on Sunday afternoon. More than 12 hours later in a phone interview with Speed51.com, Clark was still furious over what had occurred.
“He knows better than to do that kind of stuff with me,” said Clark. “I hadn’t had any issues with him. I run people link how they run me. This certainly lit a fire under me, so he’s going to want to be on edge for sure.”
Shaw, who will enter the final three events of the 2014 PASS North season in a tight championship battle with six-time series champion Johnny Clark, doesn’t plan to make amends with Clark anytime soon.
“Probably not,” Shaw said when asked if he plans to try to talk to Clark about what happened. “I know how he is. It’s not going to do any good. He’s going to do what he feels is necessary and I will do what I can to keep my car in one piece and carry on.
“It’s always going to be in the back of my mind, but I’ve just got to go race and hope he does the right thing.”
Clark won’t go as far as to consider the events that occurred the beginning of a rivalry, but says that he won’t forget about what happened Sunday afternoon.
“There’s not going to be a whole lot of racing between him and I. I can assure you that.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Northeast Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo Credit: Bangor Daily News – http://bangordailynews.com/2014/08/24/sports/cassius-clark-wins-duel-with-d-j-shaw-to-capture-hight-chevrolet-150/?ref=SportsBox