The Mark Clark Memorial was first conducted in 1990 as a memorial to a popular driver who lost his life in a traffic accident at a young age.
Clark was a member of a family with a tradition of stockcar racing, much of it at Twin Cities.
In spite of the fact that Clark’s brother, Tim Clark, was a favorite to win every time the gates were open at Twin Cities, he didn’t win the Mark Clark Memorial until 2010. He then won it again last year.
It looked like Clark wouldn’t be defending his championship Aug. 2 because he sold his equipment earlier this season. However, when he sold his car, it was agreed that he could race the car in the Mark Clark Memorial. Obviously, the race is important to him.
Tim Clark’s cousin, Troy Clark, won the race in 2011. However, he has since switched to pure stock competition. Consequently, it seems unlikely that he will run in the Mark Clark Memorial.
The odds-on favorite in this year’s race has to be Randy Petro of Columbus. Petro is one of the top super-stock racers around, and he already has four Mark Clark Memorial wins to his credit. Also, he has dominated super-stock competition at Twin Cities this season, winning almost every super-stock feature.
There are a number of other local racers who could win, but it would seem that this race might come down to a duel between Petro and Clark.
Anyone who has followed NASCAR for more than
10 minutes is aware that it is driven by the sponsorship of the teams and the events. The cost of hiring a driver, equipping a team and putting the whole thing on the track is so high that everyone understands that the money has to come from somewhere. A number of sponsorship changes have recently been announced.
Among the biggest of these deals is Lilly’s multiyear sponsorship of today’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race is conducted on the 2.5-mile oval and is a part of the Kroger Super Weekend. The race shall be known as the Lilly Diabetes 250.
Mike Mason, vice president, U.S. Lilly Diabetes, said, “We hope our involvement will provide awareness that is essential to the prevention and management of this disease. By working with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we hope to get people talking about diabetes with their doctor as well as their friends and family.”
Lilly Diabetes also sponsors NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Ryan Reed, who drives full time for Roush Fenway Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Reed was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 17.
About competing in the first Lilly Diabetes 250, he said, “I couldn’t be more excited to compete for the first time at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Lilly Diabetes 250. To have the opportunity to race at the home of Lilly’s corporate headquarters in Indianapolis is a great honor and something I’ll never forget. I’m grateful to everyone at Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association for the opportunity to join them in promoting diabetes awareness with the hope of someday eliminating this devastating disease.”
Axxess Pharma and its subsidiary, All Star Health Brands, has signed on as primary sponsor for Cole Whitt’s NASCAR Sprint Cup car for the races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway and as an associate sponsor for the balance of the 2014 season.
All Star Health Brands markets TapouT brand muscle recovery system.
Whitt raced as a Red Bull development driver in midgets and sprint cars for Keith Kunz Motorsports.
Provident Metals, an online precious metal dealer, has signed on to sponsor the No. 98 NASCAR Sprint Cup car for Phil Parsons Racing and its driver, third-year NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Josh Wise, for four races this season — Irwin Tools Night at Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 23), Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Speedway (Sept. 6.), Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 11) and AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 2).
Phil Parsons said, “The guys from Provident Metals arrived in Daytona to sign the agreement with monster boxes full Zombucks silver rounds to cover their deposit. That was an exciting exchange and a first for us.”
Clauson wins Sprint Week title
Indiana Sprint Week is the highlight of the season for sprint-car fans, and it serves as a pressure test for the sprint-car teams. Sometimes, rainouts will ease the pressure on the equipment. However, this year the only rainout came at Lawrenceburg, and it came during the heat races.
Consequently, most of the laps to be run were in the books. An amazing dozen cars made all six Indiana Sprint Week features. Considering the high car counts, that is an amazing statistic. There are so many ways to fail to make a feature that even the best teams will miss a show once in a while.
The top 10 finishers in Indiana Sprint Week points were Bryan Clauson (424), Robert Ballou (394), Dave Darland (391), Brady Bacon (357), Jon Stanbrough (354), Chris Windom (351), Justin Grant (315), Hunter Schuerenberg (298), Chase Stockon of Elizabethtown (279) and Jerry Coons Jr. (264).
The USAC sprint cars will now be idle until the Sprint Car Smackdown at Kokomo Speedway from Aug. 21 to 23. However, few if any of the competitors will be idle for that long. With seven tracks racing sprint cars every weekend, few teams will be idle even for a weekend.
Tim McKinney writes a weekly racing column for
The Republic. He can be reached at 379-5632.