SATURDAY A STRANGE DAY FOR PASS AT BEECH RIDGE by MikeTwist
Several Big Names Load Up After Problems on Eve of PHI 400, Two Won't Be Back?
All season long, most of the headlines in the IBG-PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) Series have been made by a Rowe or a Clark.  The father and son combination of Mike and Ben Rowe and the unrelated pair of buddies, Johnny and Cassius Clark, have won all but three of the season’s 16 races to date among themselves.  Those four have been most of the story this season.
Saturday night, the Clark Motorsports team took the bold step of loading up both cars and leaving the track to head to the suburban Portland, Maine shops of fellow competitor Scott Mulkern.  The team will pull an all-nighter if necessary to work on the cars and make them racier on Sunday.

Meanwhile, it is an entirely different situation with Cassius Clark.  The young Maine driver is currently fourth in the PASS standings with two races left to go.  However, a disqualification from his heat race left Clark and his team so angry, that they loaded up and left the track Saturday.  Clark and his Ed Chapman-owned team are taking a stand against what they perceive to be selective enforcement of the rules.

“We went to tech in the infield [after the heat race] just like they told us to do,” said Cassius Clark.  “They said that I was all set, so I assumed that I really was all set.  I came in and went to my pit.  I’m on the backside of the pits and I’m not where everyone else is or where the scales are.  I parked it and jacked it up and they came
Cassius Clark's #8 was loaded up on Saturday evening and according to the team, it won't be back.
over to tell us that we had to run the consi because we didn’t run over the scales after the heat race.”

Clark said that since he was never told that was the procedure was, he is going to stand his ground.

“We said the hell with it.  We gave them back their transponder and said that we weren’t running a consi.  We probably won’t race tomorrow either.  I’ll either start fifth in the race or I won’t start at all.  If this happens, there won’t be any more PASS races [for us].  We had a fast car, we were a tenth faster than anyone in practice and we went from ninth to almost win the heat race.  We earned the fifth spot in the race and if they don’t want to give it to us, then they don’t need to see us race.”

The crowd was standing room only on the pit side of the track fro Saturday - eight deep in places!  Keep in mind, that was only for heat races.  The features are Sunday.
What really irked Clark’s team was a report that they weren’t alone when it came to pulling off the track and not going directly to the scales.

“We’ve been talking with people around the pits and evidentially Rollie MacDonald came in to his pit and then {came back and] rolled across [the scales] and we talked to the scale guy and he told us that Mike Rowe never went across.  We tried to go over and roll across the scales [after finding out about the procedure] and they wouldn’t let me.  They said that Mike was a good guy.  Maybe if I wasn’t such an a-----e, they would let me race.”

MacDonald actually crossed the finish line in his heat
So it’s not really a surprise that on the eve of the largest PASS race of the season, the Pullen Heavy Industries 400 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, the Rowes and the Clarks again have made most of the day’s headlines.  Their fates couldn’t be more different though.  Both Rowes are safely in Sunday’s race with solid starting positions, while both Clarks loaded up their racecars and left the track Saturday night.  One will be back on Sunday.  The other probably won’t be.

Johnny Clark  is already in the field, but he was not happy with the performance of either his own #54 car or the currently-unqualified #154 team car driven by New Zealander Michael Pickens, who Clark became friends with while taking part in the Roush Racing “Gong Show” earlier this summer. 
Ben Rowe (L) and Cassius Clark (R) talk during lunch at Beech Ridge.  Later on, the two would have complet eopposite days at the track. (51 Photos)
race out of the money and gained his position when another competitor was disqualified, so that explains his situation.  Rowe crossed the line in the third position directly behind Clark and the top five drivers were set to advance from each heat race, so he was supposed to report to the scales.  Did he?

Rowe had left the pits for the day when Speed51.com tried to catch up with him, but #24 team co-owner Scott Pullen said that Rowe did nothing wrong.

“We went in line [after coming off the track] and waited in line [for the scales] like everyone else,” said Pullen.  “Anything else {that is being said] is totally wrong.  Mike was listening at the driver’s meeting.  Certain guys weren’t listening.  Cassius never even attempted to go to the scales.”

If Cassius Clark does not make a surprise return for Sunday’s race, he stands to lose quite a bit.  He is currently fourth in the standings, only 32 points out of the lead and will surely take a tumble by missing the race.
Travis Benjamin's team left the track as well - but they weren't going home to protest.  The #17 bunch hopes to be back on Sunday.
He also did not take part in the consolation races, so he could be denied one of the two PASS point provisionals for the race.  As of Saturday evening, the #8 team had loaded their car, hooked up their trailer and left the Beech Ridge pit area, presumably for their shops in Farmington, Maine – two hours from the track.
You didn’t need to have a last name of Clark to have trouble on Saturday or head home early from Beech Ridge.  Scott Mulkern was involved in a wreck with Donnie Whitten while battling for the final transfer spot of their consolation race.  Both cars were heavily damaged.  Whitten’s crew was hard at work fixing their car for either a provisional start or a run in Sunday’s last chance race.  Mulkern’s crew loaded up and decided to sit this race out.

Travis Benjamin also had to leave the track on Saturday.  He had an engine problem with his #17 car and left shortly after lunchtime to return to his shop in Central
Maine.  A few team members stayed behind to monitor the heat race action and told Speed51.com that the car would be back at the track on Sunday morning.

Larry Gelinas’ #37 was heavily damaged in a heat race accident and he loaded up to go home as well.

Also damaged in heat race wrecks were the cars of Corey Williams, Canadians Rollie MacDonald and Gorveatt, as well as George Philbrick.
But the day was not bad for all drivers.  The battle of PASS competitors vs. Beech Ridge regulars will start on the first lap tomorrow as PASS point leader Ben Rowe and Ridge Runner Trevor Sanborn will share the front row.  Starting behind them will be the winner of the third and final heat race, Bill Rogers - also a track regular.

The two consolation races that were held on Saturday were won by Rick Martin and J.R. Baril. 

On tap for Sunday will be a last chance race for the PASS Pro Stocks, a 75-lap Outlaw Pro Stock race, a 100-lap Limited Sportsman race, a PASS Modified feature and the 300 green-flag lap PASS Pro Stock main event, paying $15,000 to win.  Speed51.com will be on hand to bring you a full report after the checkered flag.



George Philbrick's #99 took a hard hit.
Alan Tardiff (R) lends a hand to help Corey Williams (L) fix his battered car.  Tardiff is already in Sunday's race and Williams should be safe for a PASS provisional if he needs it.