Cassius Clark, it seemed, had been trying his whole life to win the Oxford 250.

The 39-year-old wasn’t in the driver’s seat when he watched his father, Billy, come agonizingly close a few times when Cassius was a young boy, but he still felt the family’s pain.

Cassius Clark carried that winless burden 13 times until Sunday, when glory finally was his.

And even better, Billy Clark was there to celebrate with his son, as was Cassius’ son, Cale.

Cassius Clark holds his son, Cale, during an interview after he won the Oxford 250 on Sunday at Oxford Plains Speedway. Brewster Burns photo

Cassius Clark said Monday morning that it “means so much” to finally win one for the family.

“Can’t even describe it. With my dad coming so close to winning it, and then myself with all the different teams I’ve raced with over the years, always in contention and always a threat, but just couldn’t seem to pull it off for whatever reason.”

Billy Clark was the pole-sitter in 1987 and 1991, but finished sixth and 23rd, respectively. Cassius led the field to green in 2017, only to settle for a third-place finish. From 2013-16, Clark had finishes of fifth, fourth, sixth and sixth again, and he also had an eighth-place finish in 2019.

He finished 14th in last year’s Oxford 250, then didn’t race again until winning a 150-lap Pro All Stars Series feature at Oxford Plains Speedway two weeks ago. The driver who said he always feels like he has a great shot to win the 250 had even more confidence after winning two weeks ago, which was bolstered further by all the work his team put into the car in the lead-up to the big race.

“I felt deep down this was gonna be a great opportunity for us to be able to pull it off,” Clark said.

Starting in 25th for the feature wasn’t ideal, but Clark said since the 250 is such a long race there’s plenty of time to slowly make your way to the front.

That’s where Clark eventually got, and where he was at the end.

He was in the same spot two weeks ago at Oxford Plains Speedway — in victory lane. It’s a place he’s been at race tracks his whole life, just never on Oxford 250 Sunday.

“Those were my fondest memories growing up, going to victory lane with my dad,” Clark said. “I can remember it like it was yesterday, and I’m sure (Cale) will remember that for a lifetime. He’s my little good luck charm.”

Clark said a fan sent him a video of Billy Clark pacing around the infield during the final five laps of the race. That pacing finally stopped in Cassius’ arms next to his winning car.

“I’m more happy for him and my car owner Rollie MacDonald then I am myself,” Cassius Clark said. “They both have provided me with so much over the years. I really wish Rollie could have been here, as well.”

Beyond his family and his racing team, Clark, a Farmington native, can also share this long-awaited victory with Franklin County, which had previously never seen a native son win an Oxford 250.

“Franklin County has been represented by so many talented race car drivers over the years, it’s almost dumbfounding that no one from the area has been able to pull off a win,” Clark said. “Jeff Taylor, who is arguably one of the all-time greats at Oxford. Tracy Gordon, in his years at the track, so often a dominant force. My dad, Billy Clark, coming oh so close in ’87. And even my cousin Nick Nichols.

“Between all of us, we’d certainly all had our fair share of heartaches heading home late Sunday night after many, many of the Oxford 250s. I don’t think it takes the sting out of their pain but it definitely brings me a sense of pride knowing after all these years we finally pulled one off for this area.”

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