In her first season in the Lucas Oil Modified Series, Jessica Clark found her comfort zone through the first five races. That zone has been 12th place. In three of those races, she had what she described as first-lap bad luck. She made contact or had a mechanical problem that knocked her out of contention early.
Jessica Clark raced Ford Focus Midgets and S2 stock cars before moving up to the Lucas Oil Modified Series.
Jessica Clark said racing at different tracks is giving her a new perspective on the sport.
"Every race I've progressed in qualifying-wise," said the 19-year-old from Ventura, California "Twelfth has been our pretty consistent finishing position. We've run into our fair share of bad luck, at least as far as first laps go. It's been a learning year, but it's not a slow learning year. I'm progressing really quickly. Next year we should be contending for top-five positioning in the overall points standings."
She started from the pole and finished 13th place at the Irwindale Event Center on August 17. She was the fourth fastest in qualifying and started from the pole on an invert. It was her third 13th place finish of the season to go along with two 12th place finishes.
"I didn't have the car right from the first lap. It was way too loose, especially on the entries," Clark said. "I wasn't able to compete with anybody. It was a mess. I just went backwards. I figured out the low line, but the low line you can only run for so long. My right rear tire was chattering for the last 20 laps. I thought it was going to blow on me. It was just miserable."
Jessica Clark quickly dropped from the front row to seventh place early in the race. She stayed in the top 10 until the closing laps, when she dropped to 13th.
She started the season with an 18th-place finish at Havasu 99 Speedway in Arizona. After that, she followed with a 12th-place finish at I-10 Speedway in Blythe, California, and a pair of 13th place finishes at The Bullring and Rocky Mountain Raceways.
"Every race as its own unique story," Clark said. "It's been me and my dad. He's never touched a modified before this season. Luckily we got our hands on a great car. This is the former champion's, Austin Barnes' car. He won the championship last season."
She said racing at different tracks is giving her a new perspective on the sport.
"I looked forward to racing at [the I-10 Speedway in] Blythe because I had a lot of success there in a midget," Clark said. "But that track is not built for stock cars. I found out very quick that is not my favorite track anymore. Vegas has always been a top pick for me. I've always dreamed of driving a modified around that joint. I like the modifieds. They handle pretty well everywhere."
Jessica Clark raced Ford Focus Midgets and S2 stock cars before moving up to the Lucas Oil Modified Series stock cars. Her experience in modified racing is less than a 20 races.
"These have a lot more horsepower. They handle so much better," Clark said. "The S2s were like houseboats on pavement. It was rolling over so much in the corners. You had to wrestle it around the race track and it wasn't necessarily the funnest car to drive."
Clark was 12th at the race at Madera Speedway. Despite the results, Clark said she loves racing stock cars in the Lucas Oil Modified Series.
"Out of all the series I've raced in, the Lucas Oil Modified Series has been the most incredible," Clark said. "They've got the TV broadcasting, they've got absolutely great backing from sponsors, they take care of the drivers. We've got great purses. It's just been awesome."
Jessica Clark said her teams have used K&N products throughout her racing career and she wouldn't depend on anything else.
"Honestly, I've never run anything other than K&N," Clark said. "I don't have anything to compare it to. We run it in out tow vehicle and our race car. I haven't heard anything but good things about them. I can't say anything but good things about K&N filters. I feel like everybody knows that K&N is the top brand."