Up in his Maine race shop, Clark and his race team are still riding high after their long-awaited win in the Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway last August. But, it is also crunch time to prepare a new hot rod recently purchased from Port City Racecars to take on the Connecticut oval.
One car is ready, and we’re working on a new car,” Clark told Speed51. “We were going to bring it to Loudon, but we switched gears to get it ready for the Icebreaker. It’s all hands-on deck for this new car trying to finish it up for the weekend. We ended up taking a break. Port City was so backed up from having such a great offseason building new cars that we didn’t get our new piece until February. We’ve hit the shop pretty hard since then.
With both ‘The Big T’ and ‘Magic Mile’ (New Hampshire Motor Speedway), the two longest tracks on the PASS North tour making up the season’s opening points rounds, Clark is hoping this fresh racecar will give the No. 54 Clark’s Scrap Metal camp the edge they need before diving into the many bullring events that make up the 2021 schedule, starting with Oxford on April 25.
“Big reason we’re trying to get this new car done is that we’ve been pretty decent there the last few years, but still only fourth or fifth. So we decided to take the new piece out for that. It’s not like we have a stellar notebook when it comes to Thompson, figured we’d try out Gary Crooks’ new piece there.”
While it is one of the more serious times of the racing season, Clark is still very chipper about finally adding an Oxford 250 win to go along with his six PASS North championship titles.
Of course! We probably will be for some time, it’s just incredible every time someone brings it up. It’s something that will never get old, something we fight to try to do.
But, after being willing to trade those six PASS North titles for an Oxford 250 win in recent years, Clark is now more geared than ever to claim a record extending seventh title, while still maintaining the desire to go after a second 250 come August.
“All the above. We want to win every race out, at the end of the day that’s why we do it. Do it to have fun, compete, but you’re having more fun if you’re competing out front. We want to be competitive everywhere, Oxford 250 has been on the top of our bucket list for quite some time. We turned Oxford around last season with the win in the 250, and a second and a third. That’s huge for us.”
After just missing out on the championship in 2020, Clark knows that bad races must be kept to an absolute minimum. Not only has it added an emphasis on getting a strong start over the first two races at Thompson and NHMS, but it has him focusing on eliminating all avoidable mistakes from now until the season’s end in October at Seekonk Speedway.
“Of course, we want to go back-to-back with the 250. But, last season we just had a couple of bad races like at White Mountain. We were always fast at White Mountain, but had bad finishes that had us come up 19 points shy of number seven. That made even hungrier for number seven, my father-in-law said it best, we didn’t need any good luck, we just didn’t need the bad. We want seventh more than ever, at least I do.”
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51