When you think of race car drivers, you think they have the world at their fingertips. A fancy house, a private jet, and a multi-million dollar contract to drive cars 200 miles per hour. That's how most view the life of a driver. But what about the ones who don’t have the funds to compete for wins week to week? What about the ones who don’t have the new things that some teams do? What about the ones who have other jobs to support their racing career?
Meet Alex Clubb, a 31 year old who runs A. Clubb Landscaping, a landscaping company in his hometown of Morris, Ill., located in the southwest Chicago metropolitan area. Clubb also drives the No. 03 Ford Fusion in the ARCA Menards Series for his own race team Clubb Racing Inc.
Clubb didn’t come from money or fame; he just had a dream. “I probably started watching Days of Thunder on repeat when I was three,” quoted Clubb. “Ever since then I knew I wanted to race in the Cup Series. My parents got me a go kart for the back yard when I was four. My grandpa John Clubb and my dad Brian Clubb both raced as well as my uncles Bob, Tim, and Jonathan, as well as many other cousins. We have a huge racing family.”
Clubb mainly raced at local tracks like Grundy Speedway, Lasalle Speedway, Fairbury Speedway, Farmer City Raceway, Illiana Motor Speedway, and Rockford Speedway. He also won three separate track championships in a Champ Cart in 2003 at Jules Raceway, a Hornet Championship at Lasalle, and an Ump Stock Car Championship in 2012 at Fairbury.
Racing locally wasn’t what Alex wanted to do. For the long term future. He wanted to race on a national platform, and ARCA is where he felt he could achieve his dreams. “ARCA was as close to my dream of racing on a national platform,” said Clubb. He then started to explore his options in 2014, and landed at Carter 2 Motorsports in 2015.
After three starts in the season that included two in his home state in Illinois (Duquoin State Fair and the Springfield Mile) and earning two DNF's at Duquoin Speedway and Winchester Speedway and a 17th place finish at Springfield Mile, Clubb took 2016 off and built his own race cars for the 2017 season, where he would compete under his own team known as Clubb Racing Inc. From 2017 to 2021, Clubb only ran a handful of races, but that wasn’t enough for him. In 2022, Clubb Racing Inc. made the decision to compete the full ARCA Menard Series schedule.
Clubb didn’t drive all 20 starts in 2022, but instead gave the opportunity to new up incoming drivers who wanted their name out there. Brayton Laster, Josh White, Rita Thompson, and Casey Carden all made at least one or two starts in the No. 03 Ford Fusion.
“Brayton (Laster) running for Mullins Racing in our car for his two races made the other 18 possible for us,” quoted Clubb. “For that I am very grateful. Josh (White) was supposed to run three races for us but due to his crash at Charlotte and his primary sponsor deal drying up, he only made one start. Rita (Thompson) seemed to have potential but it unfortunately didn’t work out for her or us at the end of the day.”
But one driver stood out to Clubb, one that he called his favorite one to work with. That would be the gentleman that rebounded at Mid Ohio after having brake issues on lap one to finish 15th at Watkins Glen, Casey Carden. He’s the kind of guy that you wish funding was available to put him in the car for the full season. “He listens, adapts well, and has great feedback on what the car needs,” Clubb stated. “Most racers these days don’t have that.”
Clubb plans on running the full 2023 ARCA Menard Series schedule for the second time in his career. One thing he needs to have to complete the 20 race schedule is funding. “I am excited for the 2023 race season. I know this year will be a lot better, but it has to make sense and I want to be a lot more competitive.”
But since the 2023 race season doesn’t start until the beginning of February, Clubb has been focusing on his landscaping business back home in Illinois. “I missed a lot of time this year with my business; Probably two full months of work. so I’ve been doing a lot of catching up and helping the guys. When you’re a blue-collar guy there is never an off season.”
Clubb has a wife (Ashlee) and a two year old son (Parker) that live in Morris, Ill., and do everything they can to help Alex achieve his dreams of being a professional race car driver. “She isn’t super happy with the racing, but she understands it's my passion. We met at a race track and started dating in 8th grade. I think she is ready for me to retire, but we know that isn’t going to happen.”
Clubb thinks that the racing bug has already bitten Parker. “He is picking up on things quickly and he definitely has the bug. He seems to really like racing and always wants to sit in our race cars. He even went as Lightning McQueen this year for Halloween. I hope 13 years down the road we are still in ARCA but that’s a long time from now. I do know that when he turns five in a couple years, I want to try him in the baby champ class at Kankakee Speedway.”
Talking about the future of Clubb Racing Inc. Alex made it clear that this isn’t just a throw away project for him. Clubb has goals for his teams for the future. “My goal as a team is to over time acquire better equipment and be able to run on the lead lap. In a perfect world I would love to expand to a two car team full time. For me, the 20 race schedule is perfect. Most races are close to us in Illinois, and I can still run my Landscaping business as well as be home most of the time on weekends.”
Clubb also said that he wouldn’t mind staying in ARCA. “I plan to stay put for as long as I can do it. I wouldn’t mind a NASCAR Craftsman Truck in the future, but it's not possible in the near future. If I can be an ARCA driver for life, that’s fine with me.”
If their is anything Alex Clubb proves, it's that you don’t need to come from money or fame to become a race car driver. Instead, he proves that with hard work, and passion, you can achieve your goals in life.