A pair of drivers with the same last name and no relation to each other recorded the fastest times during Friday’s practice for the 47thAnnual Oxford 250. Cassius Clark and six-time PASS North champion Johnny Clark both turned in fast laps to set themselves up for a strong weekend at Oxford Plains Speedway.
In a quick 15-minute twilight practice session around 7 p.m. Cassius Clark turned in the fastest lap of the day with a 15.374. Prior to that, in what was originally scheduled to be the final round of practice, Johnny Clark recorded a fast lap of 15.439.
With the potential for rain on Saturday, the final twilight practice was scheduled to give teams an additional opportunity to dial in their cars.
Johnny Clark used a strong baseline setup and a trio of midnight thoughts to put his No. 54 near the top of the speed chart.
“We made some changes. We unloaded this morning and gave us our baseline back,” Johnny Clark said. “I woke up in the middle of the night and had these three things I could change all at once. I never told anyone until this morning that that’s what we were going to do, and it was worth a tenth and a half. We made a 50-lap run and it feels really good. Let’s hope it stays like this for the 250.”
The potential for rain on Saturday was on the minds of many teams throughout the day on Friday as they tried to dial in their race cars for Sunday’s big show.
“There’s no doubt that the track is going to change,” said Shawn Martin, who was fastest in Friday’s third practice. “We’ve got some weather coming in tomorrow and it’s going to clean off all the rubber on the track. It’s definitely going to make for a green track Sunday. We were a smidge free, so we’re hoping that will play in our favor because the track should tighten up on Sunday.”
One driver who was looking to get back on the right track at Oxford on Friday afternoon was 2018 Oxford 250 winner Bubba Pollard. After struggling last year, Pollard returned with a more simplified approach that appears to be paying off.
“A lot better from where we were last year,” Pollard said. “Our program has gotten better since last year. We really went to work after here and Canada and things like that. Just kept working and we’ve come here with something pretty similar to last year, just a few things different. But the small things are what I think has made a big difference in our race car. It drives good, that’s the biggest thing. It’s comfortable and easy to drive. That’s what we’re looking for in our race car. We’re just trying to dial it in. We didn’t put no tires on; we just made race runs.”
Curtis Gerry, who also struggled by his standards two weeks ago at Oxford, also found improved performance with his No. 7G. The 2017 race winner set the fastest time in the second round of practice and was pleased with his race car at the end of the day.
“We unloaded good. We had good speed and went out on old tires practicing early,” Gerry said. “We put on our scuffs and were really happy with the car. We made a bunch of long runs on old tires. The last PASS race here we just missed the setup on it and could never get it back. But overall we’re happy with today.”
John Peters led the day’s opening round of practice, while Curtis Gerry, Shawn Martin, Johnny Clark and Cassius Clark were fastest in the final four rounds.
Throughout the weekend, race fans can watch a live pay-per-view broadcast of the Oxford 250 on Speed51.TV. Saturday’s racing will include the American-Canadian Tour, PASS Modifieds and much more. Sunday will see the PASS Super Late Models in the spotlight with heat races, consis, last chance race(s) and the 250-lap main event.
Order you pay-per-view ticket today by clicking here.
-Story by: Brandon Paul, Speed51 Content Manager – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51