“I think I’ve always dreamed of driving race cars from the time I could understand what the sport was really about. I didn’t think of it as a reality until my dad started working for Richard Childress Racing and I got to know Austin and all the other guys over there who helped me get started racing go karts at 10 years old.”
Clark Houston, 15, is racing his own way through in the number 6 Outlaw Kart at Millbridge Speedway in Salisbury, North Carolina. You can find him racing adults, like Kyle Larson and Ricky Stenhouse, in the Wednesday night program with the entire family looking on.
“My dad [Andy] gets into the crew chief mode and is only worried about one thing, winning. Mom gets more nervous and worried but most of the time keeps cool until I’m on the track.”
Mother, Lorie, admits she gets nervous but enjoys watching. She also enjoys watching Andy because he gets excited for Clark. It would be hard not to get excited for the young man. He won his first race in the Boxstock Divion which he entered mid year of 2013. The following year he won the Boxstock Division Championship before entering the adult division, Outlaw Karts.
“Most of the consistency came from my dad helping to give me one of the fastest karts out there each week. It was still very surprising for us to be as competitive as we were that early on.”
Entering the Outlaw Karts, Clark has already had early success. Winning heats, starting on the pole, and racking up top 5’s and some top 2’s. He is already making his mark. While not currently sponsored he is helped by Loren Ranier who lets Clark run his kart, try different motors, and helps with setups and other equipment to be fast. The step from Boxstock to Outlaw is huge, going from 12 HP to around 70 HP in a kart that is roughly the same size has had it’s challenges.
“This was a huge change for me because it was also a completely different driving style. When I was qualifying, practicing, and making laps I was fine. It was the racing that was the hard part. It took me a little while to learn that you didn’t always have to go all out to be fast during a race. You see, during a race it’s all about trying new things to figure out how you can find speed and get around the guy in front of you which, in the beginning, is what I really struggled with.”
Clark’s first race is March 15th at Milbridge Speedway. With his history, willingness to learn, and natural talent, he is ready to win.
“I have had a few close races, we just need the luck to go with it and I really feel like this year is my year.”
Follow Clark on Twitter: @clarkanator6