Pigtails and sixteen - that was Jessica Clark back in 2009 when we first discovered her stirring up a ruckus on the racing radar. At the time, setting aside time to answer interview questions from a sponsor got delegated to the backseat, Clark had more pressing priorities after all. She was fully focused and dedicated on maintaining a 4.0 GPA at Westlake High School, and how do you not immediately admire that kind of clear thinking from a kid? Clark is unmistakably one of those much needed overachievers that continue to push the learning curve forward so that the rest of us are shamed into achieving anything at all. Clark isn't a kid anymore, and as much as things have changed outwardly, the internal mechanical foundation that makes her tick has only been fortified, reinforced and polished to a diamond luster.
Clark plans on continuing to race the NASCAR Modified for one at least one more season in 2013.
During the 2010 through 2011 race season Clark competed in the Western USAC Ford Focus Midget series and the NASCAR Whelen S2 Limited Late Model Series. She had 1 feature win, 1 pole, 9 top-three finishes, 19 top-five finishes, and 30 top-ten finishes.
"I also became the first female in USAC history to win two championships in one year," Clark adds. "I won the Western States Pavement Ford Focus Midget Championship and the Southern Pavement Ford Focus Midget Championship. My 2012 NASCAR Whelen All American Modified/Star Grand American Modified racing season recently ended, and on a strong note. I was not able to find the funding for a full season of racing, so I raced two thirds of a season. I finished off the season with a trophy dash win and a Star Grand American modified feature win. I will be racing NASCAR Whelen All American Modifieds next season at Stockton 99 Speedway with the hopes of turning it into a touring season."
On the subject of important lessons she's learned over the past few years Clark says. "On the driving side of racing I have learned that my ability to give accurate and detailed feedback to my crew is a necessity to improve our chances for a successful race.
Jessica Clark acknowledges that Ron Sutton's Winners Circle program has taught her to be a better racer and a more confident and astute young woman.
On the business side of racing I have learned that the key to any sponsorship is to treat it as a business partnership in which I, the driver, am a marketing partner. I have learned that a sponsorship is not a 'handout' to an 'up-and-coming racer.' It is an investment in a strong and lucrative form of marketing." It's only reasonable at this point to mention that there are veteran racers that never grasp that concept any better, or articulate it any more succinctly, than Clark just did.
Concerning her continuing involvement with the Ron Sutton's Winners Circle (RSWC), "It has been a blessing to my life's journey," she acknowledges. "It is a racing team that is dedicated to developing young, talented drivers to have a viable chance at a career in the NASCAR Cup series. I have been racing for RSWC for four years and I consider all drivers and crew members as my extended family. I was accepted on the team at the age of 14 and I was extremely shy, unconfident, and not business minded at all. After my first year on the team I had gained loads of self-confidence and I became quite outgoing."
"I attribute this growth of self to the in-class training days that we have each year during the off season. The topics of the classes include: fitness, chassis tuning, data acquisition and analysis, how to conduct yourself in interviews, sponsorship and marketing, etc. RSWC provides all the tools to become a well rounded driver on and off the track. I am eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of this team because it has not only turned me into a knowledgeable and experienced racer/business woman, it provides me with life skills and lessons that are priceless and will benefit me regardless of the whether or not I achieve a career in NASCAR."
Clark's short term plans are to continue racing the NASCAR Modified for one more season. Her long term goal is to be racing in either the K&N East Series or the ARCA Series within the next three years. "Five years from now I plan to be racing for a NASCAR Cup team," adds Clark.
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