A feisty and determined daughter to a very famous Canadian drag racer charts her future…..

Chelsea Clark is one of three daughters to Wally Clark, a transplanted Australian, and member of the Canadian Drag Racing Hall of Fame (2015), now universally recognized as one of the most famous names ever from within Canada’s drag racing spectrum.   

Chelsea, who is the middle child to her two sisters, Jessica and Ashley, was the only one to fully pursue the sport into the future.  Following a number of years of “hands on” experience along side her father Wally’s race cars as a primary crew member, Chelsea has migrated more into the cockpit, and now often shares driving duties with her ever encouraging mentor/father.

Bonded at the track! Wally and Chelsea Clark

“I’ve been part of his racing for many seasons and  (starting about age 14) I was always chomping at the bit to be the driver,” she reflected.  “In 2018, I got my first laps and also my licence (at a NHRA race in Numidia PA).  Then I started racing in competition for the first time later that year — four races I think – within the Can-Am Stock/SS series.  I did race our team’s Camaro for a year (a 2002 model now owned by Dean Moggach) after our Pontiac Grand-Am had to be rebuilt following a towing mishap.”

Wally and Chelsea did bounce back with that familiar FJ Smith-built Pontiac Grand Am during 2021.  The meticulous car was fully repaired and also returned to a traditional “purple and flame” team paint scheme.  That car, which features a 327 CID SBC motor program by Brian Tilburg, remains as one of the most popular and fan favourite Canadian Super Stock machines period.

“To get back into it was great,” Chelsea continued.  “The Camaro was very different to drive and it gave me some good experience, but the Grand Am is quite a bit more comfortable and for me much easier to see out of.”

During 2021, Wally and Chelsea did share the driving duties during the season and tossed the keys back and forth depending on event scheduling. And together they did manage a “top ten” place finish (#5) in final Can-Am Stock/Super Stock points at season conclusion.  

But the reality is – that season experience has further fuelled a fire within Chelsea.

“Being able to follow in Wally’s footsteps has been amazing — but those are big shoes to fill,” Chelsea admitted.  “Right now I fight with Wally (always in a friendly way) for more time in the car.  I guess I’ve always been a bit more pushy then my sisters (LOL) but my previous career did let me spend more time at the race track — and that’s part of it.  I’ve not sure Wally will ever step out of the car permanently — because even at his age he is still winning.   I think the “ride sharing” will remain for at least the foreseeable.  And the truth is, I still enjoy being involved with crewing the car too.  I think that knowledge makes for a better driver.  I get to see, feel and hear the race car, with that you gain more of a sense for how things are going, when driving.”

Chelsea revealed to that while there is really no gender factor within drag racing anymore – she does take pride while mixing it up with the majority of men racing in her class.  

“Now it’s just racer vs racer — but on the track my goal is to cut your eyes out and get a win-light,” she beamed.

When not at the race track with her father on weekends, Chelsea Clark’s profession is within nursing in the Niagara Falls region.  She has a degree from the Ontario College of Heath & Tech and is also a board certified paramedic.

Wally Clark’s series of career race cars includes this previous version “purple & flamed” circa 1994 Pontiac Grand Am —  which campaigned extensively within NHRA Lucas Oil Divisional and National event races.

Wally Clark’s racing ventures have always included the enduring support from  all his daughters. That is (left to right) Ashley, Jessica and Chelsea.

Post and photos by Bruce Biegler