The last two times the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) Super Late Models were on track, Johnny Clark was the runner-up both times. On Saturday evening at Seekonk Speedway (MA), Clark finished one spot better for his first PASS win of the year.
The seven-time series champion won the 150-lap Super Late Model event at Seekonk, but it was not without its share of excitement and drama.
First, there was the battle between Clark and Angelo Belsito for the lead, which ended on lap 87 when contact between the two competitors sent Belsito spinning in turn four.
"I do feel terrible," Clark told Racing America. "I don't go and lift people and send them around. I was under him a bunch of times before that. It means nothing to what happened there. I got into him, I lifted for him. I got back to the gas, and it was like he checked up. I lifted again and sent him around.
"I think everyone knows that's not my driving style, but I'll talk to him when the time's right. I know he doesn't want to talk right now, but it's a good run for us. We needed it."
Belsito expressed his displeasure after the race, referencing their battle for the win in last year's Haunted Hundred as motivation to build a new car that left Seekonk battered and bruised Saturday.
"Typical Johnny racing. Last year I raced him clean. He got under me, there was no contact, Johnny went on to win the race," said Belsito. "Thought about it this winter, worked hard on the car. Brought this car here, it's pretty much all brand new.
To add salt to the wounds, a multi-car incident on lap 96 collected Belsito as well. Nonetheless, Belsito charged his way back through the field, finishing second and giving himself a chance to retake the lead for Clark on a late restart.
"Get spun out, have to go to the rear, mess around with a bunch of knuckleheads and now it needs a whole new body. It is what it is. He hit me down the backstretch and finished me off going into three. These guys worked hard all day, it was hot today. We had a good car, maybe not a winning car. I was still somewhat there after using it up coming through the pack. We'll get it back together and hit another race soon."
There were plenty of late restarts to keep Clark on his toes. Perhaps the most exciting came near the 100-lap mark of the race, where Clark battled side-by-side with PASS North points leader Eddie MacDonald. That fight came to a premature end when MacDonald suffered a flat tire.
"A lot of restarts. Way too many restarts at the end," said Clark. "I'll tell you, it was some fun battling Eddie. I was nervous lining up with him on the front row. He's so good and knows what he's got to do when he gets to the front row."
"That was fun to be able to race against him," echoed MacDonald. "I've got a lot of respect for him, and I feel he has the same. You can run on the outside of him and not even touch. It's fun to race like that, that's the way it should be."
MacDonald put together his own charge after the tire issue, including a three-wide move on lap 146 to move into third place on the final running order.
"I wish we could have got [Clark], but he was just a little bit better than us and then we had that tire go down," said MacDonald. "Luckily, we were able to get back to third, I have to thank my guys. They did an awesome job tonight."
PASS returns to Oxford Plains Speedway [ME] for its next stop on July 10. They will be joined by the PASS Modifieds and the American-Canadian Tour for that action-packed event.
Pro All Stars Series Unofficial Results
June 25, 2022
1. Johnny Clark
2. Angelo Belsito
3. Eddie MacDonald
4. Wayne Halliwell, Jr.
5. Gabe Brown
6. Fred Astle
7. Brandon Barker
8. Garrett Hall
9. Ben Ashline
10. Derek Gluchacki
11. Jake Matheson
12. Bobby Palland III
13. Brian Whalley
14. Nick Lascoula
15. Brandon Turbush
16. Isaac Bevin
17. Derek Griffith
18. Dave Darling
19. Vinnie Arregnado
20. Kevin Casper
21. Jacob Burns
22. Jimmy Renfrew
23. Jake Johnson
24. Ben Rowe
25. Dylan Estrada
-Photo credit: Norm Marx/PASS