By: Ashley McCubbin
The inaugural USF Juniors season is in the books, with a champion crowned as Mac Clark was able to secure the title by 24 points over Sam Corry. The Canadian recently spoke with NEWS FROM THE PITS.
ASHLEY MCCUBBIN: Congratulations on the championship. What does it mean to you be the 2022 USF Juniors Champion?
MAC CLARK: I have gotten this question a lot recently, and for me, I think there’s a rush of emotions and obviously for me, its excitement but it’s kind of a weight of the shoulders. The Road to Indy Scholarship package is really going to help out with 2023 so kind of relieved, super excited to already be jumping into the 2023 season and already getting ready for USF2000 next year. Super excited for February and March to roll around.
ASHLEY: Looking at the year you had with multiple victories, what moment stands out for you this year?
MAC: I would say Barber (Motorsports Park) Race 2. It was a really tough race. It was early in the season, we managed to come out with the win, and it was on IndyCar weekend which I thought was pretty cool. They were a lot of the top names there and for them to see us competing on track like that, it’s a pretty cool experience for a driver trying to make their way up the ladder.
ASHLEY: Looking at the schedule now that you’ve experienced each venue, what is your favourite?
MAC: That’s a tough question. They’re all kind of different. This is going to be a controversial one but I really like Mid-Ohio. Mid-Ohio is a driver’s track, very technical, lots of blind corners. I would say that’s my favorite on the 2022 calendar this year.
ASHLEY: The USF Juniors were the new division this season. Why did you choose that as your next step for your racing career?
MAC: I think the Road to Indy always put together a good package – the officiating, the way they run the series, venues, it’s kind of a big combination of everything going right. I was very honored to be a part of the inaugural USF Juniors Championship and they definitely provided a lot of benefits for us drivers this year.
ASHLEY: You mentioned already the scholarship. As you now move up to USF 2000, what are the goals and expectations?
MAC: I think as a racing driver, the goal is always to win. We’re after the championship. We want to win our first year in. We know it will be tough, but I know I have a good squad behind me and we’re going to be doing our best through the off-season to make sure we’re ready for round one at St. Petersburg.
ASHLEY: How did you get your start in racing?
MAC: I started when I was 11-years-old karting, you know like most kids that enter road racing. It was actually through my father. So my father competed in a high level of karts and he was very good. By the time I was 10 or 11-years-old, I was like, “Mom, Dad, I want to give this a try,” and that’s kind of how I got my motorsports start.
ASHLEY: So that racing start came in go-karts through your father, but what is it about racing that drew you in? Was it the competition or something else?
MAC: I think I’m naturally a really competitive person and when I was younger, I wasn’t actually that great in any other sports. I tried soccer, baseball, and they weren’t really working out for me. I just tried racing just once – I just wanted to try it, and as soon as I tried it. I think it was the speed and from there, the rest is history.
ASHLEY: Absolutely. I know you consider James Hinchcliffe a racing hero being from Ontario, Canada. With having watched the career he had and also seeing Dalton Kellet at that level, and now you’re headed up that same path per say…
MAC: I think it’s really special as a Canadian driver. I mean, I’m obviously only on step one of say 10 on the way to becoming an IndyCar driver or competing at that level, but to carry the Canadian flag – and I know a lot of Canadian drivers wear the red gloves for Greg Moore. I was talking to Hinch and how special it is for us to have Canadian heritage in racing and trying to push that and show other Canadians it is possible.
ASHLEY: Obviously you’re headed down this path for IndyCar as we’re talking about, but is there any other form of motorsports that you would like to try?
MAC: In terms of driving, that’s an awesome driving. I’ve told people this since I started karting but I’d love to drive anything with four wheels, whether it was NASCAR in the Cup Series, or World of Outlaws. I’ve never done dirt racing but I really want to try that. The only thing I say that I wouldn’t is maybe Moto GP, like two wheels – those guys are crazy. But other than that, I’d be open to driving pretty much anything.