WNY AUTO RACING LEGEND
Civic Stadium in downtown Buffalo is where the legend of Art Clark began. Born in 1936, Art’s first introduction into racing came when his mother brought him to Civic Stadium at the age of 12 to watch the midget races. As he sat in his seat that evening, his love and passion for the sport of auto racing was shaped. From that point on, his life was dedicated to auto racing. When people ask Art why he focused so much time on racing, he replies, “Why do two to three things ok, when you can do one thing really great?”
Art’s racing career started out small. He and some friends built a small oval track in one of their fields in Orchard Park, and they raced each other in old field cars. His first true sanctioned race didn’t come until 1953 when he welded some roll bars in his field car, and took it down to Civic Stadium. He was only 17 at that time, and had to lie to about his age to race; being under the 18 year old requirement wasn’t going to stop him. His career took a brief hiatus as he was drafted to serve his country in 1954. Once he got home, he jumped right back into his passion and painted his car Bimini Blue. All of Art’s cars going forward had the iconic Bimini Blue paint job and number 7 on the side. For over 50 seasons of racing, Art was almost unbeatable. He ended up winning 19 track championships, was a three-time Eastern Racing Circuit of the America Champion, and won over 300 races on both dirt and asphalt. If he wasn’t taking home track championships, Art was finishing in the top five of points 53 times at various tracks. If you were a local racer you knew to take first place you were going to have to beat Art Clark.
He won 12 of his 19 track championships on his home track of Holland Speedway, and spent many summers with cars in his rear view mirror. In 1965 there was a bounty put out by Holland of $100 on top of the purse to be the first driver to beat Art in his B-Modified. Between the years of 1964-66, he won the feature races on the same night in both B-Modified and Late Models 18 times. He won the Bud 100, Holland’s biggest event, eight times in four separate decades.
Art’s passion had him racing, and winning until he was 69 years old. In 2002, August 3rd was proclaimed “Art Clark Day” by the United States Congress, New York State Assembly, Erie County Executive, and the Erie County Legislature. When anyone is asked about Art Clark, the answer is always that he was the best local racer that they have ever seen!