One of the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North’s most familiar drivers will be joining forces with a familiar race team for the 2017 season. Cassius Clark of Farmington, Maine will be teaming up with Hight Motorsports, the team he won the 2013 championship with, to compete in a select number of PASS North races this season.
“I’m going to race for Hight in the select races for those guys starting off at Oxford,” Clark told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I’ve got six or seven races planned with them and then I’ll run some of the bigger races in Canada for King Racing.”
In July of 2015, two years removed from their championship run, Clark and team owner Corey Hight made the mutual decision to part ways midseason. Hight fielded a part-time effort for Trevor Sanborn the remainder of the season before making the decision to step away from racing to spend more time with family last season.
Meanwhile, Clark made his way north of the border to chase the Parts for Trucks Pro Stock Tour schedule with team owner Rollie MacDonald and King Racing.
Now, a desire to get back to the race track will see the two parties join forces once again.
“My father,” Hight answered when asked what made him want to get back into racing. “My father loves it and he wanted to go back and run a handful of races if I could put the right deal together. We did and here we are today.”
Currently, the team plans to race all the PASS North races at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), the PASS race at Speedway 95 (ME) and the prestigious Oxford 250. They may add one or two races beyond that depending on how things go.
Clark will be piloting the same No. 77 Port City Race Car that he drove for the team prior to their split in 2017. The team has brought in experienced crew chief Jamie Rouleau to lead their efforts this season.
“We’ve assembled a good team with those guys,” Clark stated. “We’ve got Jamie Rouleau to crew chief it and my buddy Andrew Hicken out of Canada is going to come in and help us as well. It’s the same team we had when we won the championship, all the same guys that come and help us out at the track. We have a really good group of guys, so with all of the resources they have I think we should go race those six or seven races and be in contention every race.”
After parting ways, Clark and Height remained good friends with Clark even doing a few work-related jobs for Height over the last few years. But it may have been the connection between their fathers that may have made a bigger impact in getting the band back together.
“My father and Walter, Corey’s father, are really good friends. They hang out and enjoy a few beverages together,” Clark said. “It made sense. They wanted to go racing again and everything fell into place so we could go back at it and get back to business.”
“(Cassius) was the one that my father wanted to put in the car,” Hight explained. “My dad and his dad are pretty close friends.”
For Clark, a return to PASS North racing means a return to racing closer to home. While he enjoys racing in the Maritime region and will continue to do so in 2017, he welcomes the opportunity to race closer to home.
“Racing in Canada is fun. They have great fans there and racing for Rollie is a blast with Andrew and that whole team. They’re all like family, I’ve been with them so much the past couple years, but obviously there’s a lot of travel involved with that for me,” Clark stated. “When you go to Halifax and most of those races, it’s 500 miles each way and there’s no good way to fly there. Even if it’s a one-day race, it ends up being three days out of the week. Logistics wise, it’s a lot more feasible to stay around here. Oxford is 45 minutes down the road, Bangor (Speedway 95) is 45 minutes and Beech Ridge is less than two hours. Those tracks are a lot closer.”
While there will be six or seven races on the team’s schedule this season, much of their focus will be on one race: the 44th Annual Oxford 250 in August.
“That really is what the whole deal was all about,” Hight said. “Everybody wants to win and run the 250. That was part of the deal. If (Cassius) couldn’t have raced the 250 for us, we probably wouldn’t have raced either.”
Despite being away from racing for a full season, the expectations remain high for the former championship team. With an experienced crew chief like Rouleau turning the wrenches, Hight is confident they’ll be competitive out of the gate.
“He is racing all the time down south and down here, so we have pretty high expectations,” he said. “I don’t think we should be faltering out of the gate by any means.”
Clark’s first race back behind the wheel of the Hight Motorsports No. 77 will be on April 22 for the PASS North race at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME).
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Lindsay Ellison