Six-Time PASS Champion Finding His Groove in 2021

After three consecutive races to start 2021 in the month of April, the Pro All Stars Series North Championship has its winningest champion back on top of the hill. After fighting an ill-handling car at Thompson Speedway, six-time PASS champion Johnny Clark has been a mark of excellence, scoring an emotional win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and a strong runner-up at Oxford Plains Speedway.

 

With a two-week layoff now over with, the PASS Super Late Models are heading to Lee USA Speedway for the first time since 2017. While Clark has not made any appearances at ‘New Hampshire’s Center of Speed’ since that time, unlike some of his main rivals, the Maine driver is confident the No. 54 team can continue strong-arming the field.

WATCH LIVE: PASS Super Late Models at Lee

“We’ve run seventh, first, and second; so I think we’re doing alright. We think we found out why we weren’t as good as we would’ve hoped in the first race at Thompson, so we’re bringing the older car to Lee. If we run good at Lee we’ll know we got it, if we don’t it’s back to the drawing board with that car. It’s been fun to be competitive again, every time out,” Clark told Speed51.

 

Why so much confidence? Lee USA Speedway to Clark is like a home away from home.

 

“It’s been a decent track for us, I’ve always compared Lee to Wiscasset, which is where I grew up. They’re really similar with a lot of characteristics that are similar. Lee is a track that we look forward to going to every time. We seem to be competitive, even in our off-years we’ve always felt like we’ve been able to bring a good piece there.”

 

Despite his one win coming in 2009, Clark has rarely finished outside the top 5 in subsequent appearances. Lee has a reputation for devouring tires, requiring special care by drivers over the usual 150-lap race distances. It’s a lesson that Clark learned the hard way back in the day.

 

You just got to be smart, know your own car and run your own race. If you feel it slip, you got to take it easy. I can remember in 2004, getting passed by Tracy Gordon with three laps to go, I had a really big lead, couldn’t be caught. Then all of a sudden I fell on my face with 15 to go, I got so loose in. I learned a lot about conserving tires that day.

 

With recent non-PASS races for Super Late Models at the 3/8-mile oval going to New Hampshire drivers like D.J. Shaw and Derek Griffith, both of whom will be in attendance Sunday afternoon, it’s easy to think that Clark’s edge might have dulled at Lee. But, Clark thinks differently as he believes that he can be the class of the field, just like he has been in the last two PASS rounds of 2021.

 

“We want to go there and set the bar. We’ve won a race, so we’ll be starting outside the top 10, but that’s okay because that’s one of those tracks where you just want to ride and be there at the end of the day. If we can stay out of trouble, it’ll be a good thing for us. Starting on the front row you pace the race and sometimes you feel a lot of pressure to run a little faster than you want to. So, it’s not a bad thing for us.”

 

Race fans unable to make it to Lee USA Speedway on Sunday will be able to watch the PASS Super Late Models and PASS Modified races live on Speed51.TV with a monthly or yearly subscription.

 

-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT

-Photo credit: Speed51 Photo

Six-Time PASS Champion Finding His Groove in 2021