Paul Clark, 1982 Badger Champ, Dead At 58
MADISON, Wis. — Paul Clark, the 1982 Badger Midget Auto Racing Ass’n champion, died Feb. 18 in Madison, Wis. He was 58. Clark spent the last 22 years of his life in constant care for injuries suffered in a 1988 USAC National Midget Series race.
After racing go-karts and motorcycles, Clark turned his attention to midgets in 1975, finishing sixth in BMARA during his first full season of racing. Clark began his march toward the Badger title in 1979, finishing fifth in points. The next year he improved to third, and in 1981 was runner-up to Dan Fredenberg.
Clark’s 1982 championship season saw the series run 25 events at six tracks, including four pavement events. Clark, driving Pete Lahm’s Edmunds-Volkswagen No. 91 with sponsorship from Fitchburg Plumbing, scored three victories, and a pair of runner-up finishes.
Clark ran a partial Badger schedule over the next five seasons, scoring numerous midget victories with WOOM and MARA. Clark scored Badger victories at seven different tracks during his career.
Clark and Lahm had a USAC Silver Crown Championship Dirt Car built by Edmunds Autoresearch for the 1985 season. Clark ran in 15 USAC Silver Crown events over three seasons, with his best finish fifth at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds in 1986.
After owning several service stations in the Madison area, Clark opened Capitol Tire & Service. At the time of his injury the facility was Madison’s largest retail tire and service store, and continues to operate at the original location on Madison’s West Side.
Clark was severely injured during a USAC National Midget feature at Impact Speedway in Oregon, Wis., on April 24, 1988. Clark was running fifth when he made contact with another car and hit a rut. Clark’s car flipped several times before hitting the turn-four wall. Clark was airlifted to University Hospital in Madison with head injuries.
Clark remained in a coma for three months before waking up. After an additional three months in the hospital he was released. Clark lived in Iowa at a care facility before moving back to Madison, where he lived the rest of his life.
There is no funeral/memorial service planned. Clark is survived by his sister Joan Master (Madison) and two nephews. A memorial fund will be announced at a later date.