What’s With the Hair Cassius? By Bob Dillner
Clark Winless, But On Top of PASS North Title Bout
One look at Super Late Model driver Cassius Clark and you have to ask yourself the question: “What’s up with Cassius’ hair?” The answer is simple.
“In the beginning of the year I said, ‘Hell with it, I’m not going to cut it until I win,” said Cassius with a laugh. “I’m going to stick it out. I haven’t cut it for a while and it’s getting kind of long and shaggy.”
Long and shaggy is an understatement, but the bushy hair has given the normally stoic Clark a personality. In fact, as people tease him about it, he seemed to be more outgoing than normal while at a recent PASS North race at All-Star Speedway.
Many athletes have used the same theme to their benefit. Road racer Boris Said attracts a lot of attention with his whacky Cassius-looking hair. Heck, even Jason Giambi of the New York Yankees grew an old-style mustache this year. It’s gotten him a lot of attention, and he’s on an upswing this year after a tumultuous 2007. And remember back to the late ‘70’s when Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Terry Bradshaw grew what became to be known as “The Playoff Beard?” He wasn’t going to cut it until the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Well, I think they won four in that span if my memory serves me correct. It worked for these guys, so why not Cassius?
“I don’t think I have to worry about the beard,” said Cassius of his boyish hairless face. “But, if it (his hair) starts to get down near the armpits, we may have to do something different. I’ll race a go kart race or something (to win) I guess.”
It’s not like Clark is a stranger to winning, especially in the tough PASS Super Late Model ranks. A graduate of the Legends Car wars of New England, Clark has won a total of 13 PASS SLM races, including a total of three last year and six the year before. In ’06, he won the prestigious $12,500 to win Mason Dixon Meltdown at South Boston Speedway. He hasn’t a single victory this year, though.
One might wonder if Cassius, as he matures as a driver, is now trying to win a title instead of just races. Being a points racer is the furthest thing from Cassius’ mind.
“We want to win races; I don’t really care about points too much,” explained the Maine native. “We’re going to go for it. My saying is, ‘Fans come to the race track; they didn’t go to the banquet.’ I want to win the races.”
Cassius Clark needs to find a way to put the No. 8 in victory lane if he wants to get a haircut soon. (Top) Cassius shares some laughs at the track. (Bottom)
The beginning of this year has been filled with ups and downs. He leads the North points after five of 14 races, with five top-10 finishes and two poles to boot. Clark has also ventured South, with a sixth-place run at the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in March and a fiery end to his day at Motor Mile on Mother’s Day weekend. The difference from this year to last… he is using a different style car.
“We had the Camaro Club last year there,” said Clark of his Super Late Model with a Camaro front-clip last year. “We put a normal clip on it this year to save weight. We saved 20 pounds or something. It was supposed to be the same, but we had a little trouble with the roll center on it. We’re getting there now. We finished second in a couple of races lately, but I’m getting sick and tired of being the first loser.
“Despite catching on fire at Motor Mile in Virginia, Clark credits that race as his season turnaround.
“That was our biggest learning there. We tried some new things, and that’s where it really started turning around. We were running with Corey (Williams) and (Zach) Stroupe (eventual race winner). We should have proved that we were there to win, but that just couldn’t happen. That was unfortunate. Ever since then we have been contending.”
And so the hair will stay, at least until Clark wins or it gets too long to tuck up under his helmet. He goes into this weekend’s PASS North event (a companion event with NASCAR’s Camping World East race) as an odds on favorite. He has been the first car to the checkers at “Big T” in the past, in fact he did so twice, but did have trouble in post-race tech once. Thompson is Clark’s type of racetrack, fast and aggressive and that could mean his family may be able to bring out the shears.
Cassius Clark posing with his new 'do. (51 Photos)