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FAMILY DUO Valarie Clark teamed up with her father to take on the SCORE San Felipe 250 By Larry Saavedra Valarie Clark traded horses for horsepower the day her family moved from Arizona to Kansas City, Missouri. She was 14-years-old and although she could not legally drive on the street, she could race UTVs with her parent’s blessing. “I was born in Arizona and rode horses there,” she said. “But when we moved, I decided to follow in my dad’s footsteps and started racing short-courses. We have been a team ever since.” Three years later, Clark was behind the wheel as the driver of record for a Geiser-built Trophy Truck Spec (#214) from Unlimited Motorsports at the 34th BFGoodrich Tires SCORE San Felipe 250, Presented by Ford. Together with her father, Stacy, they powered through every last whoop and obstacle to the finish without too many mishaps at their first-ever SCORE Baja event, laying plans to pursue the entire SCORE racing series as a father and daughter duo. After the race, Clark said she never figured Baja would be that tough. “I thought I would’ve at least caught a break at my first Baja race, but I guess not.” Although they finished San Felipe behind the leaders, Clark said she is “gunning to become the youngest woman” to win the race overall someday. From Short-Course to Baja “We did a lot of short-course racing, but nothing like SCORE,” said Clark. “What I like best about the SCORE Trophy Truck Spec is that all competitors are racing with basically the same equipment.” Clark likes that the SCORE races are very different from the short-course races, because of the pre-running involved. “There’s a lot of pressure with the TV helicopters and live-streaming at SCORE, and that was different.” Her father started the race and drove to mile-marker 136, and that’s where they made the driver change. The truck looked good except for a missing hood and door. The team was running strong until Clark got stuck in the deep washes. “At first I was really flying, and everything was going smoothly,” she said. “But the sand was deep and we had to dig the pumpkin out four times. Then the jack broke.” After getting unstuck she began to experience some issues with the engine’s serpentine belt. But Clark and the team weren’t deterred. Fifteen miles from her pit-stop, however, she started to see bits of the belt flying out of the engine bay. Her co-driver, Kenny Thatcher, suggested that they keep going, and that decision proved to be the right one. “I wasn’t about to quit,” said Clark. “I’ve talked to so many women who race SCORE and they basically told me to push through the hard stuff and prove people wrong. Be the woman that is powerful.” It may be the first SCORE race for Clark, but surely not the last. Fans will be seeing a lot more of Clark this season, and hopefully, with a race win. SJ

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