Johnny Clark of Hallowell could be taking a joyful stroll to the bank in April.
If he wins THE RACE at tradition-rich North Wilkesboro Speedway (N.C.) on April 9, he would pocket $100,000.
The 300-lap Pro All-Stars Series-sanctioned race will pay the winner $75,000, but Clark is one of five drivers who would earn a $25,000 bonus because he registered early for all 13 PASS North Super Late Model races and for at least four of the five national PASS SLM races. He said the others are PASS South points champion Preston Peltier of Harrisburg, N.C., Jay Fogelman of Durham, N.C., Ben Rowe of Turner and Steven Legendre of St. Johnsbury, Vt.
There will be plenty of stiff competition, including Sterling Marlin, a veteran of 748 Sprint Cup series races.
The 53-year-old Marlin won 10 Cup races and had 83 top-five finishes. He finished in the top 10 in points five times, including third-place finishes in 1995 and 2001.
“There’s absolutely no reason not to have at least 100 cars there,” said Clark, who won his third straight PASS North SLM title this past season. “I think it will drag everybody out of the woodwork. I think you’re going to see a lot of big names.”
There will be more than $155,000 in purse money available.
It will be a nostalgic race for Clark, who recalled attending his first Sprint Cup race there with his father, John III, and his brother, Bob.
It was April 16, 1989.
“It was a pretty cool place,” said Clark, who saw the late Dale Earnhardt take the checkered flag.
There were 93 Cup races there between 1949 and 1996, and then the track closed.
Thanks to Alton McBride Jr. and Terri Parsons, widow of 1973 Sprint Cup points champion Benny Parsons, the .625-mile track was re-opened in September. The April 9 race will be its first night race.
In addition to Marlin and Clark, other early entries include Scarborough’s Ryan Moore, a perennial K&N Pro Series East (Busch North/Busch East) contender who has also raced in the NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck series; Turner’s Mike Rowe, who has a combined 19 PASS North and South wins, and 2010 PASS South Mason-Dixon Meltdown winner Justin Wakefield.
Clark and his crew chief, Robert Green, will head to Indianapolis to purchase a new Chevy Impala this week.
“It sounds funny, but the car (Chevy Monte Carlo) I used in 2008, ’09 and ’10, in which I won the most races ever (12), is going to be my backup car,” said Clark. “The new car is going to have a lot to live up to.”
The race is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.
PASS returning to OPS
The PASS North SLM series will return to Oxford Plains Speedway this coming season for the first time since 2006.
There will be two races at OPS with the first being on July 23, the night before the TD Bank Oxford 250, and the second on Oct. 1.
“It’s cool that we’re going back there,” said Clark. “It’s one of the premier facilities in New England. Hopefully, we’ll have some full fields and put on a good show so they’ll make it a long-term relationship.”
OPS dropped its pro stock (super late model) class in 2006 and made the less-expensive late model class its top division. Wiscasset Raceway, Unity Raceway and Hermon’s Speedway 95 have also dropped pro stocks and Caribou’s Spud Speedway doesn’t have a pro stock class.