INDIANAPOLIS — After making his debut with the USAC Silver Crown National Championship a year ago, driver Mario Clouser and car owner Gene Kazmark will give it a go on a full-time basis by running the complete series schedule in 2023.
Clouser made his initial appearances with the champ cars in 2022, all on the pavement, finishing four of his five starts inside the top-10 with a best performance of third in August at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill. and also charged from 24th to 7th in the season opener at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park.
Now the Joliet, Ill. based Kazmark Motorsports team has added a dirt car to their stable to go along with the pavement machine, which has Clouser eager to make his first full season run in the “big cars.”
“I plan on running the full USAC Silver Crown schedule with Gene (Kazmark),” Clouser revealed. “They’ve got a dirt car together and I’m really looking forward to running the whole deal.”
Clouser learned a few things during his debut run with the Silver Crown series in 2022 and aims to put that knowledge to use on both types of surfaces when he doubles his presence on the series tour in the coming year.
“The only thing that took some time getting used to is the length of the races,” Clouser explained. “When I ran pavement midgets, you could push the envelope for 30 laps and it was okay, but with the Silver Crown stuff, you have to be there 100 miles later To get a car that’s good for that 100 miles is a little more difficult. You have to be really spot on and it’s not like the good guys fade; you’re still running fast, if not faster laps at the end of the race than you would be at the drop of the green.”
For several seasons now, Clouser has been a familiar face on the dirt sprint car scene with USAC and with POWRi WAR where he was the 2021 series titlist. However, his initial foray into USAC racing came via midgets, primarily on the pavement. It’s the same scenario for him in Silver Crown competition as he got his feet wet on the asphalt before expanding his ventures to include a little bit of dirt slinging.
“The pavement is a lot of fun for me,” Clouser acknowledged. “It’s a lot like going home and I’m super excited to do it again next year. It took a few laps to get back into the swing of it last year, but I feel like it’s just a racecar and I know exactly what I need to feel and how to drive.”