PADUCAH – Two Marshall County drivers could relax and enjoy the official completion of track championship seasons in Paducah International Raceway’s finale Saturday evening.
Kyle Clark of Calvert City had to finish the job before he could get in on the celebration.
Clark finished fourth in the Warrior feature to claim his second championship in three seasons as challenger Mat Hartman dropped out and ended up 13th.
He joined father and son Tim and Cameron Brown, who claimed their first PIR track titles in the Late Model and Crate Late Model divisions. Both had already clinched their championships.
The 3/8-mile dirt track reopened for its season finale after more than two months of inactivity, first because of drought, then because of rain.
That delayed the official celebration for the Brown Racing duo, but for Clark, it only meant more time for him to grow anxious about his 956-950 advantage of Mat Harman of Paducah. He needed to finish no more than two spots behind Hartman to maintain at least a tie in the standings.
As it turned out, Clark drove to a solid fourth-place finish, challenging Michael Patton for third place on the final lap, while Hartman, who never got higher than seventh place, dropped out with mechanical problems and finished 13th.
Clark won the title by 15 points, 1,014-999.
“I was wound up tight about tonight,” Clark admitted. “I knew I had to perform decent tonight to come out ahead. I just did the best I could do and the smartest I could do. Luckily it ended up in my favor.”
Cameron Brown also finished fourth in his feature, closing out with a 113-point edge over runner-up Jeff Patterson of Paducah.
“It feels pretty good,” said Brown, who claimed the title in only his second year of racing.
“It’s been over for a couple of months now. Now Dad’s gonna get his [championship], so it’s pretty big for the family.”
Tim Brown made a token showing in the Late Model feature, driving stepson Cary King’s Crate Late Model after his own car developed an engine problem in the heat race.
King won the Crate Late Model championship the past two years, but did not race full-time this year.
In contrast to the quick success his sons have had, Brown won his first Late Model championship at PIR, where he started racing as a 14-year-old in 1977.
Winning the title by 60 points over Randy Sellars of Mayfield made for a big moment indeed for the Palma resident.
“It is a big one,” Brown said. “Big for me and also for my son. I’m proud of him and glad to share this moment with him.”
He credited King for helping out with the Brown Racing cars even though King was unable to compete regularly as he took courses to earn certification as an emergency medical technician.
“Cary’s helped a lot this year,” Brown said. “He was a lot of help in the shop. I’m just proud of all this coming out of our shop. They’re working hard on it.”
J.R. Mason (Modified), Mike Watson (Street Stock) and A.J. Keeling (High School Warriors) also clinched track championships. Keeling, who claimed his 10th win of the season, was the only one to celebrate with a feature victory.
Winners on the program included Dwayne Kiefer in Late Model, Everette Bradham in Modified, Jeff Walston in Crate Late Model, Brent Burnett in Street Stock and Blake Martin in Warrior.
Mark Moore won the feature for the Kentucky Vintage Racing Association classic stocks, which do not race for a PIR championship.