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Jessica Clark May Newsletter

Those of you who have followed my progress for awhile probably learned that the racing world is unpredictable. In order to survive, one must be patient, keep a positive attitude, and focus on the good. Well – that’s what I’ve been doing! Rain delayed my On Track Training (OTT) sessions and cancelled my first two races. It doesn’t end there, but that’s where I’ll begin this newsletter.

My first weekend of OTT in Stockton took place in the beginning of April. I was eager to be back in the driver’s seat. Gord Bentley and Eric Holmes were at the track coaching the drivers, and I was learning to work with a new crew. Unfortunately, I only ran a couple laps when the radiator fell out of its mount and was sliced open by the fan. So I spent most of the day listening intently to Gord coach the other drivers. Ron Sutton rented the track for a couple extra hours that evening so I could run some laps after the car was fixed. I made the most of the time I was provided, and the day turned out perfect. The next day I worked with Eric. The progress my crew and I made in one weekend was impressive.


The following weekend, I returned to Stockton for two more OTT days. I have an incredibly dedicated crew. Randy Chastain and Jason Houghtaling invest themselves in our success. They trust my feedback, and I trust their tuning adjustments based on that feedback. One of my main goals this year is to “feel” everything the car is telling me on the track and articulate that feeling to my crew in order to maximize its efficiency and generate the best possible results on race day. The car I’m driving was literally rebuilt by my crew during the winter. We are amazed at how quickly the car, crew, and driver (me) have gelled. It’s quite rewarding!

Now let’s move on to the first race! The practice sessions on Friday were incredible! I think we knocked a tenth of a second off our lap times every session out. By the end of the evening, I was turning 14.4 seconds per lap fairly consistently. To give you perspective – those are the times the top modified drivers run and they have more horsepower than I do. Needless to say – we were really excited! Unfortunately, in my LAST session of the evening, the motor blew. Thankfully, I was on the track alone when it happened, and I immediately put the car in neutral and stopped so further damage wouldn’t be done to the car. This is where the “focus on the good” phrase comes into play. When I left the track Friday night Ron was going to search for a backup motor. When we arrived on Saturday, he pulled my family aside and told us a “new” motor would be built for the car. We were thrilled! The only downside would be another delay to the start of my season.

If you’re thinking I spent that race day watching everyone else drive around in circles – think again! It turned out to be the perfect opportunity to promote a business mixer put on by one of my primary sponsors, Star Racing Supply. It’s an annual party that involves the local business community and drivers in Ron Sutton’s Driver Develop