NAPLES, ME (April 20, 2007) – As the off-season for the Pro All Star Series Super Late Models wound down, last year’s top winner on the tour was not quite sure what 2007 held in store for him. Cassius Clark drove the Ed Chapman-owned #8 to five PASS North victories last season and then backed that up by taking the checkered flag in the inaugural Mason-Dixon Meltdown at South Boston Speedway (VA).
To start out 2007, the team travelled to Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) where they were contenders to win the Easter Bunny 150. Mechanical problems took away a chance at that, however.
Upon returning to their home base in Maine, the team was unsure on their plans for the season. Would Clark be driving for Chapman or for a new team that he could start up with his father and crew chief, former NASCAR Busch North Series winner, Bill Clark? Would it be a full schedule commitment or a partial schedule deal? Would they chase a PASS North championship or just go after victories?
Those questions were answered this week when the team sat down and mapped out their plans. After batting around different options, it was decided that Clark would return to the #8 team and go after the 2007 PASS North championship. The team plans a whole new approach to racing this season.
“We raced a lot of races last year and people got burned out,” explained Clark. “When you win races all of the time, things get pretty serious and it’s easy to lose track of why you’re out there. The main goal is to have fun with it, and that’s easy to forget. So we’re going to keep that in mind. If we don’t win, we’re going to just say, ‘better luck next time.’ It’s all about having fun going racing, and we’re going to do that this year.”
Chapman competed against Clark in the Legends car ranks and has owned his racecars since the young Maine driver started Super Late Model / Pro Stock racing.
“Ed has been a family friend of ours since I was really young,” said Clark. “We used to have boats together; I was friends with his son and he was the reason that I got into Pro Stock racing. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t have done everything that we’ve done.”
Before everyone decided to race together again this year, Clark and his father acquired another racecar that they could race on their own. It’s a car with a proven track record in Maine racing circles and it will now be added as a second car to the Chapman team.
“We’ve got Jeff Taylor’s car that he built for himself,” said Clark. “He won quite a few races and the championship last year at Oxford with it. That car is very similar to the car that we’ve been running. We went back and made some changes to my primary car for this year. We’ve done some different stuff to the front end and have been impressed with that. It was running well at Hickory when something happened. We learned a few things that went wrong at the debut, and I’m exciting about running that again.”
Now Clark feels that a championship could be in the cards for 2007.
“We’ve been at it for awhile. We’ve been in contention. Last year, we had some motor troubles, a few DNFs and those points taken away from us [as a penalty for rules infraction at Thompson]. The year before that we were close. They threw out your worst finish and if it hadn’t been for that, we would have been three points behind [2005 PASS North champion] Benji [Rowe]. We’ve got the consistency there and we’ve got the wins, so if we can turn the DNFs into decent finishes, we’ll be there at the end.”
The team might also run a few PASS South races together if things go well.
“I think so; we’ll see how things go,” said Clark. “We’ll see if we can get some help with the money that it takes. If we start off with some good luck up here, we can do some of the southern races. We’re definitely going back to the Mason-Dixon Meltdown, and we’d like to go back to Hickory. We feel like that place owes us a shot at the win.”
The PASS North Super Late Model season will kick off with a doubleheader weekend in early May. On Saturday, the tour will open their year at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) on May 5th before heading to Speedway 95 for a Sunday afternoon show on May 6th.
For more information on the PASS North Series, contact Mike Twist at (207) 499-2565; for news on the PASS South Series, contact Jeremy Troiano at (704) 788–2134, and for technical and rules information on all of the PASS tours, please contact Scott Reed at (207) 625-3230. To find out more about marketing and sponsorship opportunities with PASS, please contact Steve Perry at (207) 468-0561.
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