REPLAY: PASS at Oxford Plains
Clark had a decently fast car all throughout practice, but drew a ninth-place starting spot for his heat race. That did not deter him however, as he rocketed up through the field to win Heat 2. He started on the pole for the 150-lap main event, and led every single lap on his way to victory.
“This thing was just spot on, man,” Clark said after the race. “We came and tested yesterday, and it felt as good as it did Friday night last year before the 250. I don’t know what happened in the 250 last year, we weren’t anywhere near what we had practiced or anything, and when we unloaded yesterday it felt like this thing was a rocket ship again. Then all day today, we got a bad [qualifying] draw but were able to get back up front, and started on the front row and kind of dictate the race.”
The performance sets him up beautifully for the Oxford 250 in just two weeks. Clark has led almost 200 laps at Oxford in the 250 alone over the years, but is still looking for that elusive first victory.
We want to lead lap 250! We have a pretty good hot rod, they’ll take it back to Canada and dissect it here the next few days, and bring it down in a couple weeks’ time.
Joey Doiron came into this race seventh in points and with two wins already under his belt, including visiting Victory Late when the series visited Oxford in July. He started the feature in 12th, but found a little magic on the outside groove and finished second. Doiron remains a favorite for claiming this year’s Oxford 250 honors – but clearly, only if he’ll be able to handle Cassius Clark.
“They were really good tonight. We’ll come back in a couple of weeks and try again, always fun to race with Cassius,” said Doiron. “Wish we had a little bit more to race with him there at the end, but all in all, starting 11th with the previous winner rule, it’s kind of a little bit of a disadvantage, but come the 250 it’s straight-up starting spots. Looking forward to it, and that’s the main goal in a couple weeks.”
Clark’s King Racing teammate Austin MacDonald ran inside the top five all night. The young Canadian was never quite a match for Clark or Doiron, but was still able to run away from those behind him to notch a double podium and a career-best third place finish.
“It’s a great night honestly. I came here expecting to…I don’t know, but it wasn’t this!” MacDonald said. “It’s great to be down here again, I didn’t think we’d get down this year because of all the border rules and everything, but certainly for the first time I think it’s a great run.”
With the shared information between MacDonald and Clark, and with MacDonald’s car proving it has speed as well, the Canadian has to be on the radar for the 250 – as long as he can get his restarts under control.
“I’m not used to these slow restarts! At home, we’re all pretty much full throttle going into the corner, so it’s definitely different. But I think we got it figured out there at the end, we started picking up a few positions per restart.”
In the Modifieds, Garrett Lamb scored his first-ever Modified win, outrunning Max Cookson and Brandon Varney to claim top honors.
The next stop for the Pro All Stars Series – the 48th Annual Oxford 250, taking place from August 27-29. Speed51.com will be on-site, providing coverage of every lap of racing action.
-Story by Ian Pettigrew, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Norm Marx/PASS