Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Cardinal Clark Digging into Drag Racing

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Former Cardinal Clark Digging into Drag Racing

Article excerpt

Jack Clark wore a frightened look Thursday afternoon.

Dale Emory, one of the top crew chiefs in drag racing, was fighting for his life. Clark said that Emory, his racing consultant and part-time crew chief, "apparently suffered a massive heart attack" Thursday morning before leaving the Dallas-Fort Worth airport for the first day of the Champion Auto Stores Nationals.

Clark, best known for his 18 years in major league baseball, spent the rest of Thursday getting updates.

"From what I've been told, Dale had checked in and while walking to get a drink of water, he collapsed and hit his head," Clark said.

The two had spent Wednesday in Dallas while Clark attended the Roy Hill pro drag-racing school.

"Dale was happy and laughing, and we had a great time," Clark said.

Clark, 38, reflected on his two careers Thursday, but Emory never seemed far from his thoughts.

After hitting 340 home runs in an 18-year career with the Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Padres and Red Sox, Clark began operating a top-fuel team. Though he has owned the drag-racing operation for five years, Clark has only recently begun to drive on the National Hot Rod Association circuit.

Brainerd, and the $1,014,750 Champion event, is his fourth race.

"I love this," Clark said. "The other racers are terrific people, and it's really impossible for anyone to understand one of these races until you go to one."

Clark appreciates the opportunity after going through a complicated personal bankruptcy. Despite multimillion-dollar baseball salaries, he overspent, buying too many homes and too many toys, mostly collectible cars.

"I should have never gone into bankruptcy," he said. "I had enough money to pay everything off. It wasn't the right decision, and it wasn't well thought out.

"A lot of people began to look down on me like I was some sort of drug dealer. People put me in the same category as a Steve Howe, who has gone through drug treatment several times. I was appalled.

"People sensationalized the story. It was juicy and sexy. People looked at me and thought, `You screwed up, you jerk.' But that's behind me. My bills are paid off. My collectibles are gone, but so be it. …

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