By age 12, he says he could...
By age 12, he says he could assemble a racecar from scratch.
Clint made a huge jump in 2004 by stepping up with the World of Outlaws group. He also switched to the Rocket brand of cars and brought home a 10th place finish in the points.
The second season produced his first two WoO wins, with his biggest victory, The Hillbilly 100, paying $25,000. The 2006 season was another solid effort with four wins and another 10th in the points.
But 2007 was the-best-of-the-best with a Third Place in the points, accomplished with four wins, 17 Top 5s, and 30 Top 10s. Overall, Clint's 10 WoO wins rate a tie for Fourth with Tim McCreadie. However, the most eye-opening accomplishment in WoO took place in a stretch of races between 2004 and 2007, when he made the feature race in 154 straight events.
To many, a Dirt Late Model driver's finishes in key races are a measure of his greatness. Two of those races are the Dream and World 100 at Eldora Speedway. In the Dream, Clint shows finishes of Fourth, Sixth, and Eighth. His best efforts in the World are a Third and Sixth. But that Sixth Place was really something.
"I started 15th in my heat race and qualified for the B Main with a Sixth Place," he says. "I then finished Third in the B Main, which got me the final 26th starting place in the feature. I moved up 20 places and finished Sixth. I rate that as my best performance even though I didn't win the race."
With a driver who has been through the growth of the Dirt Late Model sport, it's interesting to get his thoughts on the biggest changes in the sport. "Sure, the engines and tires have improved through the years, along with the suspensions," he says. "I can remember in the mid-1980s when a good engine was making about 610 hp. Today, my engines are worth about 860 horses. And the engine prices during that period have gone from $10,000 to $30,000 per engine.
The 43-year-old has performed...
The 43-year-old has performed his share of victory poses over the years.
"The biggest change, though, is in the haulers. We started with a flat-bed trailer and pick-up truck. But now, because of the long trips we have to take, having a NASCAR semi-hauler is a necessity."
Speaking of NASCAR, Clint says that he had never thought about running NASCAR. "Hey, I'm a dirt driver and it will stay that way until I retire."
And there is certainly no indication that retirement is anywhere close to happening for this 43-year-old driver.
As Told to Bill Holder
Driving - If I were to advise any young driver with a Dirt Late Model career in mind, he should start right off with a Dirt Late Model. That way, he will be going fast from the start. Get in there and go and get in as many laps as you can. Don't try to jump up too quick. Start with a small series and do your best to get the Rookie of the Year award. Your next goal should be to master that series and either win it or finish high in the points. Then, step up to a higher-level group and start over again. Develop different styles for different track types. Run high, run low, and run in the middle. Run "hard brake" and "soft brake" tracks.
Technology - Knowing the technology of your racecar and understanding how all the parts and pieces function is so important. You need to be able to relate to your crew chief, or to yourself, on what is needed to fix your car. Most of the top Dirt Late Model drivers work on their own cars, or did so in the past.