A peek into both the mindset and the car collection for one of Canada’s most dedicated Mopar-brand drag racers….

DragRaceCanada’s long time affiliation with Mopar Canada and the Mopar brand overall has allowed us access to a myriad of impressive Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth creations over many seasons. The passion and pride that drag racers show for those emblematic vintage machines is always prevalent — however we think the effort made by Spruce Grove Alberta’s Darcy Clarke is stand alone.

At a very early age Darcy got himself “hooked and landed” about classic Mopar cars. And over time and ever since he has exemplified that by acquiring and experimenting with many variations – a total of six different cars for primarily Stock and Super Stock class competition – so far.

“It started when I was about 8 years old and my dad bought a box of Hot Rod magazines at an auction sale,” Darcy recalled. “For whatever reason the Mopar brand cars stuck out for me and they quickly became my favourite. My family all drove Ford Trucks at the time and I remember joking about that being a form of Child Abuse when I was a kid.”

Western Canadian Mopar brand drag racing “aficionado” Darcy Clarke

Darcy Clarke first started off with a 1973 Duster ET car (which he eventually converted to legal Super Stock). Since then he has owned a 2nd ’73 Duster, a Mopar-powered rear engined dragster, a ’69 Roadrunner, a ’64 Fury and now most recently a ’64 Savoy.

“My 1969 Roadrunner was actually our street car that we drove on the street and bracket raced for years,” he continued. “My wife Carla and I have 4 kids so when I installed the roll bar in that, I actually made it so there was 4 seat belts in the rear! I can race in C/SA and in full street trim – heater, wipers, back seat, spare tire and Jack for ballast — and it remains licensed, registered and insured.”

Clarke’s 1964 Fury, which is raced in A/SA or AA/SA was purchased turnkey from Californian-based Gregg Luneack. “That is the car I’ve done most of my winning in – it’s just one of those cars you always feel comfortable and confident in,” he affirmed.

Darcy Clarke’s most successful car is this former Gregg Luneack ’64 Fury Stock eliminator car

Darcy’s most recent project may however be his most impressive and he is pretty pumped about that.

After acquiring the truly classic 1964 Savoy from it’s original owner, a lengthy rebuild and reconfiguration process ensued. Then later last season Darcy hit the drag strip with it for the first time, which included entry for competition for the final two NHR national events of 2017. The impact of that car, which features a High Compression Max Wedge motor program, was for sure immediate with both fans and NHRA tech people. In fact, Darcy was selected and deservingly awarded the event’s “Best Engineered” during it’s debut race (the NHRA Toyota Nationals) held at Las Vegas in October.

Darcy revealed detail on the rather remarkable commitment and journey he and his family-oriented racing team have made to get to that proud point.

“This 1964 Plymouth Savoy has a real cool past and racing heritage — it actually was the first aluminum front end car sold to the public (back in 1964),” Clarke revealed. “ I can run SS/EA or SS/DA with it. The first owner was Charlie Frazier who bought it brand new. The second owners were Ted Flack and Howard Comstock who campaigned it in Super Stock. The third owner was Dr. David Rockwell (author of the book “When We Were The Ramchargers”) and the fourth owner was Rick Lakin. The fifth owner was again Charlie Frazier (who bought it back) and he had it until we bought it from his daughter in 2011.”

A well deserved : ‘Best Engineered’ at NHRA Las Vegas!

“With the help of my wife (and our four kids: Meagan, Trisha, Cristin and Nolan) we built this car from the ground up in our shop on our acreage,” Darcy continued. “We back-halved the chassis, had Mark (from Performance Welding) built some fender well headers and completed the new cage — all bent in house. I found some missing pieces for the front end from a fellow Stock Eliminator racer (Gene Mosbek). All along the way we had a lot of good good friends and vendors help us — Gregg Luneack, Tony Osredkar, Mark Lelchook, Dave Smith, Hal Sorenson, Tim Hogan, Leon Powell.”

The Super Stock Savoy vaults out of the gate at Pomona last fall….

“The engine was the the most time consuming of all but as well one of the most satisfying. I had worked on fabricating an intake for about 200 hours and was about 50 percent before I sent what I had completed to Tim Hogan and he finished it for me – it’s a piece of art! My wife Carla completed the interior and carpet, and Carla’s dad Leon wired the car. Overall it was a very long time coming — but we completed the final assembly and fired it for the first time – last August 17th.”

Darcy does all of his engine programs in-house. His “Red Door Racing” facility has it’s own complete engine machine shop including a dyno.

His race team is a 100% independent and self funded one. His profession is a remote visual inspection company that he and his wife own and operate which provides inspection and certification of boilers, turbines and all the auxiliary equipment for the Power Industry.

At the drag strip itself, the name Darcy Clarke is well respected as one of Western Canada’s most prominent Lucas Oil drag racing series racers – with wins to his credit at both the NHRA divisional and National Open levels. He also had several Pro Am race wins within former IHRA circuit racing.

Darcy Clarke’s journey within Mopar brand drag racing also includes a stint with  this SS/JA Duster

Plans for 2018 racing will see him back in competition early in the season with entries filed for the season opening events at Pomona and Phoenix. After that a busy season schedule will unfold that includes a focus on Lucas Oil Drag Racing series races and some other targeted NHRA national events (back to Las Vegas) and possibly Brainerd and Indy next summer.

Post by Bruce Biegler

Photos by Bruce Biegler, Randy Anderson, Bob Johnson