Johnny Clark accomplished a lifelong dream on Sunday, finally winning the prestigious Oxford 250 after decades of coming up short in the marquee event. Now, the Maine native can say put the Oxford 250 on his resume, and he has sights set on another marquee race for 2020 as well.
Clark discussed the emotions of winning the Oxford 250 Monday on Speed51’s “The Bullring,” while also teasing plans to compete in this year’s Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway on December 2-6.
The win was a hard-fought one for Clark, coming in the biggest Super Late Model race in the Northeast. Not only had Clark not won the Oxford 250, he had struggled more often than not in the race since first attempting it in 1997.
“I just couldn’t believe it. Finally. 23 years of trying,” Clark said. “I haven’t even really been much of a factor in the 250. You have to go back to 2015 to when we had a shot. Prior to that, it was back in ’05. Someone told me I hadn’t even led laps in the 250 since 2005, 15 years ago. That’s crazy.”
In many ways, the Oxford 250 has a unique format which challenges even the most skilled racers. Starting with blind draws for heat race lineups, every position must be gained on the track in the chase for an Oxford 250 trophy.
“This race, the qualifying format, it’s one of a kind. I’ve been a part of it long enough to know what it means to every single driver who has gone to victory lane. To be on that list, I’m in awe. I can’t even believe it.”
While Clark now has that elusive Oxford 250 trophy, he also has his eyes turned towards another major Super Late Model event, the Snowball Derby.
“Two weeks ago, we started talking about getting in a car to go to that little race down in Florida come December. We’re not 100 percent that it’s going to happen, but it’s looking good.”
Clark’s track record in the Snowball Derby isn’t as extensive, but the Maine native has made the trip to Pensacola three times before. His best finish in the race was a 10th in 2006.
“The first couple of years, we qualified really well but didn’t have the car really good on the long run.”
If the plans do come together for Clark to make the trip south, one thing will be different for him. During driver introductions, he will be announced as an Oxford 250 champion.
“That would be cool. When you get together, anyone from the south, everyone knows who Bubba [Pollard] is. When you get a race called the Oxford 250 on your resume and winning that and travel around, people know who you are. It would be pretty cool to roll into Pensacola in December, with everyone knowing a couple of months prior we won the Oxford 250.”
By the time the Snowball Derby rolls around, Clark will be closing in on his 41st birthday. However, he has no interest in slowing down as long as he remains competitive and winning races.
“It’s been fun over the years to travel from Canada to Florida and be competitive. That’s all I want, is to be competitive and give ourselves a shot at it. As long as I can still always do that, I’ll keep doing this. What did Mike Rowe say at 40? What a ride.”
-Story by: Zach Evans, Speed51 Content Supervisor – Twitter: @ztevans
-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo