Port Royal Mourns Loss Of Former President Clark

Port Royal – Port Royal Speedway is mourning the loss of former speedway president Gerald “Jerry” Clark.

Mr. Clark passed away Thursday morning, April 23, 2015 at the age of 93.

Clark became a fairboard member of the Juniata County Agricultural Society in 1952 and while involved in the annual Juniata County Fair in that capacity, it wasn’t until the fairboard took over weekly operation of racing at the oval in 1962 that Clark became integrally involved in conducting and guiding the speedway.

Eventually Clark became the Ag Society Fairboard president in the 1970’s and 1980’s before stepping away late in the 80’s.

Clark’s name was one that was known and respected in the region for the way he conducted not only himself but the racing facility as well.

He guided the oval and competition through a tumultuous period in the mid 1970’s when other area tracks imposed engine limits on the sprint cars.

Clark felt that direction was improper for the division and Port Royal became the “lone ranger” of sorts, opting not to restrict cubic inches.

With time, the other area tracks reversed their restrictions late in the decade while Port Royal continued on just as it had been all along, showing the wisdom in Clark’s decision making.

It was during this time that Clark also maintained the integrity of the speedway’s stock car late model division and helped to grow it as the speedplant flourished.

With this Saturday’s annual Bob Weikert Memorial for sprint cars in the offing at Port Royal, Bob Weikert’s son Todd reflected on Gerald Clark and his tenure after learning of the loss early Thursday.

“He was a great friend of my dads. My dad had a lot of respect for Jerry,” Todd Weikert said.

In 2010 Clark’s son Donald returned the Clark name to prominence at the speedway when he became president of the organization.

And in 2012 the elder Clark and his son Don were feted at the track as the annual Butch Renninger Loyalty, Dedication & Determination Award honorees.

Gerald Clark’s grandson Curt spoke about him Thrusday afternoon.

“The last time I saw him was this past Sunday and he wanted to know how the races went Saturday night,” Curt Clark said.

“His love for that place was still as strong as ever on his last days here!”

A viewing will be held Sunday evening from 6 – 8 pm at the Brown Funeral Home in Mifflintown, 100 Bridge St., with the funeral on Monday at 10 am.