Rookie Of The Year Candidate Dies In Auto Accident
NASCAR West Series rookie Spencer Clark, 19, and crew member Andrew Phillips, 28, were killed Sunday evening in a traffic accident on Interstate 40 near Moriarty and approximately 40 miles east of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The two men were returning to their shop in Las Vegas from North Carolina after spending several weeks in the Charlotte area preparing one of the team’s racecars. As they were crossing over the Sandia Mountain range with their truck and trailer around 9pm, a gust of wind hit the truck and trailer. The unit then struck the median and overturned.
turn two of the superspeedway and had been able to race in front of some of the same people that had supported him from the very beginning of his career.
Clark competed in several divisions at the LVMS facilities. He won the 2001 Legends Semi-Pro title and then moved up to the Super Late Model division at the LVMS Bullring. He was SLM rookie of the year in 2003 and would go on to record 12 victories in that class. He won eight races in 2005.
“This is a sad day for everyone here at Las Vegas Motor Speedway,” said LVMS general manager Chris Powell to NASCAR Online. “Spencer was one of the most talented racecar drivers to ever come through the Las Vegas area. He certainly had the ability to make it to the highest level of NASCAR competition. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, T.J. and Debbie, his sister, Candice, and the rest of his family.”
Clark also competed in an ASA Speed Truck, where he scored three victories and finished seventh out of 108 participants in the Red Bull Driver Search.
Clark was ranked sixth in the NASCAR AutoZone West Series point standings and was competing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2006. In eight career NASCAR West Series races, Clark had recorded three top-five finishes and a pole at Phoenix in January.
Clark’s father, TJ Clark, was well known in the West Coast racing world and competed in various NASCAR tours, including the Craftsman Truck Series. He also served as the Chief Driving Instructor and Director of Marketing for the Bob Bondurant Racing School.
Spencer Clark made his NASCAR Busch Series debut at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this past March with the help of local Las Vegas sponsor, Allegiant Air. With a car that was prepared by family and friends going against the high-dollar efforts of full-time NASCAR Busch Series teams, Clark qualified the car 33rd and finished 35th after a day of learning and adapting to the high-level competition.
The day was even more special to Spencer, as he had grown up winning multiple main-events on the bullring located just outside
Spencer Clark --- 1987-2006
"Spencer Clark was one of the most talented drivers that we have at MMI and we have been blessed by working with some of our sport's best," noted MMI company founder Cary JC Agajanian in a press release. MMI represents drivers such as two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion Tony Stewart as well as Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and Matt Kenseth.
"He was one of the cornerstones of our Driver Development department. It is always awful to lose any young man, but this one in particular is going to hurt. Spencer was a good kid with a heart of gold that was as fierce of a competitor as anyone on a racetrack. His sheer talent and determination alone were enough to propel him into the
NASCAR Busch Series and we expected many great achievements from him in the future. This is really heartbreaking both on a personal and professional level. He had the ability to go very far in the sport. This is a tragic loss to all of us at MMI and we extend our deepest sympathies to his parents, TJ and Debbie, and his sister, Candice. His parents poured their heart and soul into Spencer's efforts. They were his biggest supporters and we hate that they have to go through this."
Andrew Phillips was a crew member for Clark’s Allegiant Air Racing Team and was a former all-Western Athletic Conference offensive lineman for the University of Hawaii football team.
Funeral arrangements are pending at this time. Speed51.com extends their condolences to the entire Clark and Phillips families.