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Johnny Clark Ends Four-Year PASS Dry Spell at Riverside

Clark & Clark, Oxford 250
Johnny Clark (#54) battles Cassius Clark in the 2019 Oxford 250. Johnny snapped a nearly-four-year winless streak in Friday night's PASS 150 at Riverside Speedway, while the unrelated Cassius finished 13th. (Jeff Brown archive photo)

The first time the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models raced at Riverside Speedway, Johnny Clark was the winner. Clark, who went on to win his first series championship that year, won at the Groveton, N.H. oval in 2004, 2005, and again in 2008. And since that win at Riverside, he had won plenty of races at other tracks, too.

None of those wins, however, had come since the fall of 2016.

But Friday night, the six-time PASS champion wheeled his familiar black, yellow and red No. 54 to victory lane once again, taking his fourth career win at Riverside Speedway and breaking a winless streak dating back nearly four years.

Clark’s previous win came at White Mountain Motorsports Park, and in PASS’ three appearances there this season, the Farmingdale, Maine native had looked stellar in the opening laps. But flat tires, drivetrain troubles and other issues had kept Clark from sealing the deal, with finishes of seventh, eighth, and sixteenth after pitting from the lead barely thirty laps into the race.

At Riverside, Clark put his quarter-mile mastery to good use, leading from the drop of the green and holding off a challenge from Eddie MacDonald. With only one caution to slow the affair, Clark used traffic to keep his competition at bay, closing out a long-overdue win for his family-owned team.

Nick Sweet, starting deep in the field by virtue of his early-season success, climbed to second at the finish in his first PASS start at Riverside. Early contender MacDonald, a winner at Riverside in American-Canadian Tour competition, slipped back to third at the checkered flag, a welcome rebound from a tough night at Oxford a week before.

Travis Benjamin finished fourth, with reigning champion DJ Shaw rounding out the top five.

Clark’s latest win is his 40th Super Late Model win in PASS-sanctioned competition, second only to four-time champion Ben Rowe. Rowe was sixth in the seventeen-car field. Third on the all-time win list, well behind Clark, is Ben’s father Mike Rowe, still a part-time PASS competitor at the age of 69.

With their top-five finishes, Sweet and Benjamin swapped the top spot in the season points standings after six races, with Sweet leading Benjamin by two markers and DJ Shaw another 42 points behind. Clark, who has not run full-time since 2017, and Rowe are fourth and fifth in the standings.

Friday’s PASS appearance was the series’ first visit to Riverside Speedway under the ownership of the Humphrey family, who purchased the track from Joey Laquerre last year. An August date last year was cancelled lending to scheduling conflicts that arose mid-season. DJ Shaw was the winner of PASS’ 2018 visit to what was then called Speedway 51.

The PASS teams will get a short respite before returning to action at White Mountain Motorsports Park on Sunday, August 9. The fourth visit to the North Woodstock, N.H. speedplant will be part of the American-Canadian Tour’s Midsummer Classic weekend, with the ACT Late Models running 250 laps on Saturday.

Official Results, PASS 150 at Riverside Speedway:
1. (54) Johnny Clark
2. (40) Nick Sweet
3. (17MA) Eddie MacDonald
4. (7) Travis Benjamin
5. (60) DJ Shaw
6. (4) Ben Rowe
7. (47) Gabe Brown
8. (99) Ben Ashline
9. (29T) Austin Teras
10. (14) Scott McDaniel
11. (23) Dave Farrington, Jr.
12. (90) Craig Weinstein
13. (39) Cassius Clark
14. (29S) Trevor Sanborn
15. (10) Kate Re
16. (14C) Anthony Constantino
17. (09) Jeremy Davis

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Jeff Brown is a contributor to Short Track Scene. A native of New Hampshire and a long-time fan of New England racing, Brown provides a fan's perspective as he follows New England's regional Late Model touring series.

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