Pahrump Valley Speedway Modified driver Clifton King has won the Pahrump Valley Speedway Modified championship two times and has been racing at the speedway for the past six years.
King is Pahrump-raised, is now 24 years old and rebuilds old classic cars for a living. He took up racing at the early age of 16.
“I actually started racing for money on the streets of Pahrump,” he said. “I raced all the time in high school. When I was 16 I stepped into a Modified for the first time. I actually rolled the car three times. I wasn’t seriously hurt but I decided to wait a bit until I got back on the track.”
King waited another two years before getting behind the wheel of a Modified racer again.
“I just needed more confidence and experience,” King said. “I wanted to understand more about racing before doing it again.”
He said his whole family is into racing. His uncle is Jerry Buesig Jr., who works at the speedway and also builds cars. He built King’s two cars that he races. King races a Modified racer and a Super Stock.
The racer said he started watching his relatives race and build cars at the early age of 8. This means he feels confident today that he could do many of the repairs that racing in Pahrump requires.
His grandfather, Jerry Buesig Sr., does all the mechanical work on his cars and pretty much taught King everything he could about engines.
“For me to be able to afford racing in this town,” King said, “I have to be able to do much of my own work.”
King said his two favorite opponents have been Jason Pike and his uncle Jerry Buesig.
“I have actually beat Jason,” he said. “I have done this a few times but we go back and forth.”
King said that there really is no one that he has not beaten out there with the exception of Kyle Heckman, who is the two-time winner of the Sam Stringer Memorial.
“He will be hard to beat,” he said.
Heckman has yet to lose to a Pahrump driver.
“That guy just takes an early lead and he never gives up his lead,” King said. “He has a fast car and drives for a team.”
The Pahrump champion attributes his success to the good people he has helping him.
“I have a good team and I am consistent,” King said. “I do more than show up at the races. I finish in the top three most of the time I come out.”
What this means is King never has had to pay for his racing after the initial feel on the first day.
“By finishing in the top three, that pays for my racing,” King said. “I love to drive and I love to race. When I am driving, I am excited.”
He said he likes to start from the back and win it.
“That’s challenging,” King said.
The young racer has over 100 trophies and has dreams of someday trying his skills nationally.
“This takes a lot of money,” he said. “That means I would have to get better at asking for money to race. I am not that good at it. I really am not a good talker.”
He said he is still learning to race. “The biggest thing for me is to learn not to push on that brake,” the racer said. “Driving on the speedway is completely opposite of normal driving. You really don’t want to slow down. And you don’t want to do stupid things. You have to be lucky on the track, and you must have a good car and respect the car.”
King is proud of the fact that he made it through the year without wrecking his car.
Contact sports editor Vern Hee at firstname.lastname@example.org