Johnny Clark put his name on the list of Oxford 250 favorites Friday afternoon. The six-time PASS North champion led five of the six practice sessions at Oxford Plains Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s 46th Annual Oxford 250.
Clark was fast right off the trailer, leading four of the first five practice sessions of the day for the Super Late Models and setting the overall fastest time of the day in the sixth practice. His Friday dominance did not come as a surprise to the series veteran.
“We’ve been working hard with Port City [Race Cars] over the last couple of months to bring them back on top here in New England,” Clark said. “It’s been a really fun week working with them and we expected good things right from the time we unloaded.
“They’ve thrashed on it every single time, the Port City guys here in the hauler. I’ve never hit the race track the same yet, so if they can play with that much stuff and you’re still on top of the board, you know the car is really, really good.”
Granted, there are no big payouts or flashy trophies for success during practice, but Clark and his team are feeling their confidence building for the rest of the weekend.
“Our team really needs that confidence,” Clark said. “We’ve just been beat and beat and beat and it’s hard to take, so we’ll take this and move into the rest of the weekend but it’s certainly a good start. It means nothing on Friday but it’s still a really good start to the weekend.”
Clark’s clean sweep of the practice sessions was only derailed by 2017 Oxford 250 winner and current Oxford Super Late Model point leader Curtis Gerry, who took advantage of a fresh set of tires to lead the fifth practice session.
“Yeah we put on new tires, scuffs, for the last practice,” Gerry said. “Really happy with the car, had a lot of drive, turned really good. Obviously, it’s fast. We got one more practice, but we’re really happy with the car. We had old tires on the first three practices just to see what it did, but we’re really happy with the car so far.”
Gerry, who already has two PASS North victories at Oxford this season, is quick not just on the new tires, but on old tires as well.
“No, we’re happy on the old tires because we stayed about fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth in all the practices with the old tires,” Gerry said. “So we were really happy with that.”
There will be another round of practices for the PASS Super Late Models on Saturday, leading into a busy night of racing featuring the American-Canadian Tour and the Tri-Track Open Modified Series, all of which sets the stage for the big show Sunday afternoon.
Fans can watch all the action Saturday and Sunday live on Speed51.com’s pay-per-view broadcast. Order your pay-per-view video tickets today by clicking here.
-Story by Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent - Twitter: @ian_pettigrew
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / Robbie Johnston