BY TOM HALE
SPECIAL TO THE BDN
CARIBOU — Johnny Clark of Hallowell was the winner of the inaugural Pro All Stars Series 150 Super Late Model race at Spud Speedway on Saturday evening in front of an estimated 1,800 spectators.
Clark beat East Parsonfield’s Trevor Sanborn to the finish by four car-lengths with Scott Chubbuck of Dresden in third.
There was some late race drama after a caution bunched up the field on lap 126 when second-place driver Travis Benjamin of Morrill went off turn two with a flat tire.
Sanborn jumped into second place on the restart and with 10 laps to go was tapping on leader Clark’s rear bumper but was unable to pass and had to settle for second.
“At one point near the end I was a little better than Johnny,” said Sanborn. “But in the end he had more than me. So he came home with the win and we finished second. I’ll take it.”
Clark, a four-time winner this year, increased his points lead over Turner’s Ben Rowe, who placed fifth.
“On that last restart the 44 car [Trevor Sanborn] got to my rear bumper. I was dancing. The rear end would not bite,” Clark said.
“I had the front blowers going during the whole caution,” he added, explaining that the blowers cool down the brakes, tires and the whole front end.
“I could not get going. I turned the blowers off and after two laps the right front tire got some heat in it again,” Clark said. “The car then took off. People are going to laugh when they read it was the blower, but I shut them off, it tightened up, and I won the race.”
Third-place finisher Chubbuck was fortunate to even make the race after engine trouble in the second practice session on Friday afternoon.
“We think we broke the camshaft in the primary engine during the second warmup session Friday afternoon,” crew member Joe Williams of Woolwich said.
“We had to decide if we were going to get it fixed or give up for the weekend. The car owner, the Hights, preferred we bring the car back to Skowhegan to replace the engine,” he added. “At 5:30 p.m. Friday we loaded up and made the four-hour trip back to the shop. The four of us worked on the car until we had it ready to go into the trailer at 12:30 a.m. After a few hours of sleep we left at 8 a.m. and made the trip back here where Scott drove it to a third-place finish.”
Track owner Troy Haney was pleased with results of the first-ever PASS Modifieds and PASS Super Late Model races at the Aroostook County track.
“Fans were into the race. They had some long green flag laps. Then they got all bunched up at the end with a caution, which made it exciting,” he said.
Fans came to the race for a variety of reasons with several attending because of two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin, who finished last in the race.
Ken Frost from Dexter drove all the way to the County because, “I heard it was going to be big with Sterling here. My favorite PASS driver is Johnny Clark.”
Caribou’s Fran Savage went to both nights of the PASS weekend. She was a member of the Sterling Marlin Fan Club when he was actively racing. She got to meet Marlin a couple times while he was here, even discussing a recipe she got from one of the Marlin Fan Club newsletters.
“I really liked the recipe for what we call the Sterling Marlin Mushroom Pork Chops,” she said. “When I met Sterling at Advantage Tool and Gas in Presque Isle Saturday, I asked him if he remembered that recipe. ‘Oh heck yes I remember that, but I don’t remember all the ingredients.’
“Marlin then leaned back in his chair, pulled out his cell phone and called his wife Paula back in Nashville, who was shopping at the time, so I was not able to get the ingredients from Sterling even though I have them at home.”
In the PASS Modified 40-lap feature race Alan Wilson of Hebron beat second-place Scott McDaniel of Livermore Falls by less than a second. Placing third was points leader Andy Shaw of North Conway, N.H.
“This is my first win in quite a few years,” Wilson said. “It has been a long time coming. I am saying this not just because I won here, but I absolutely love this track.”
McDaniel said it’s a little tough to pass on the Spud Speedway track.
“I have had a lot of seconds and thirds this year. Alan is kind of one of my childhood heroes,” he said.