Would Cassius Race?  Would a Ridge Runner Rise to the Occasion?  Find Out Here
There were several questions heading into Pullen Heavy Industries 300 IBG-PASS race at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).  Would Cassius Clark be back at the track for the race after leaving in protest the night before?  Would Mike Rowe win another big race?  Would a consistant race by Ben Rowe put him deeper into the driver’s seat when it came to the championship race?  Would a Beech Ridge regular be competitive?
That’s exactly what the elder Rowe did as Ben Rowe, Rollie MacDonald, Cassius Clark and Alan Tardiff raced nose-to-tail to settle the other positions in the top five.

The fact that Clark was even racing was a surprise.  On Saturday, a dispute with series officials [click here for the full story] led to Clark’s team packing up their racecar and leaving the track.  On Sunday morning, they returned and set up camp again. 
“We had a little get together last night and had a few drinks,” said Clark.  “We decided that we were going to come back and kick some ass here today.  It didn’t quite work out.  We got banged up in the first few cautions there and I think that we bent the spindle or the steering rack.  I just hung on to it after that.  It was running pretty decent, but we had nothing for Mike.”

Ben Rowe also got banged around in the early stages of the race and came back later on.  Rowe made contact with another car, had a flat tire and a spin, but stayed on the lead lap the entire time.
Rollie MacDonald leads Cassius Clark (#8) with his aerodynamically challenged, but lightning fast, #13.  (Norm Marx Photo)
“I thought it was going to be an easy day, but it wasn’t,” said Ben Rowe.  “I don’t know who got me in the left front, we all checked up and somebody caught me in that.  We bounced it off the wall and after that, it was a long day.  It’s got to be toed-in, I think that the caster’s split because it ripped the wheel out of my hand going down the straightaway.”

MacDonald might have had the only car that was capable of beating Mike Rowe.  The 62-year-old Canadian invader led convincingly in the middle stages of the race, but pitted later than Rowe and never quite had the track position that was needed to retake the lead late.  Still, it was an impressive day for the driver of the #13 car.
The front row showed that the race could be a battle of PASS vs. Beech Ridge regulars with PASS point leader Ben Rowe (#00) and track regular Trevor Sanborn (#29) winning their heat races to start there, but in the end, nobody could beat Mike Rowe.  (51 Photo)
“I think that in the first half, we were the fastest car,” said MacDonald.  “We had a real good set of tires and the stagger was right.  We were circling.  We could run the outside and that was the good way around for us.  If you can be fast on the outside here, you’ve got a car that can win.”

The Beech Ridge flag was carried by Alan Tardiff, who patiently worked his way up through the field to find himself in the middle of the “Rowe Chasers” as the race winded down.
The answer to all of those questions was yes.

First off, Mike Rowe added another trophy to his collection.  Rowe led for a little while early on, pitted for two tires and was back out front again when the laps clicked down.  His son Ben finished second, but he might as well have been in another zip code late in the race.  Mike was never seriously challenged at the finish and made winning almost look easy.

“It’s never easy,” said Rowe.  “We had a good restart with Ben on the outside [on lap 277 of 300].  It would take me two or three laps for the tires to come in and then I would pull away.”
SP2 Motorsports poses in victory lane for yet another time this season.  (Norm Marx Photo)
Those four drivers put on the best show of the day late in the race.  Although there was not a pass for position among the four of them, the fans had their eyes glued to the group knowing that a move could be made at anytime.  In the end, it was Ben Rowe, MacDonald, Clark and Tardiff finishing in that order.

“I could have got into Benji a few times, but I don’t race that way,” said MacDonald.  “I get along with all of those guys and hopefully they will do the same when I’m ahead of them someday.”

“I was kind of hoping that the other #8 car [Tardiff] was further behind me because I would have liked to try Benji [Rowe] and Rollie {MacDonald] on the outside,” said Clark.  “I wanted to finish fourth though, so I didn’t dare try it.”
“That was just great finishing in fifth place with those guys,” said Tardiff.  “It was fun.  I think that we were faster than three of them.  I got a run on Cassius, but I just couldn’t carry the speed.  But we’re happy to finish fifth.”

By finishing second, Ben Rowe had the catbird’s seat when it came to watching his father win the $15,000 first prize.  For the past few years, it had been Ben taking control of the big-money Pro Stock races in New England.  This season, since Mike Rowe joined up with
This was as close as they got to Mike Rowe at the end - and it was on a retsart!  Ben Rowe (#00), Rollie MacDonald (#13) and Cassius Clark (#8) take their best shot at the #24.  (Norm Marx Photo)
the SP2 Motorsports team, it’s been Mike winning more often than not and Ben’s not the least bit surprised.

“I knew that when he got into good stuff like the cars that we have, that he was going to win,” said Ben.  “He’s the best driver in the Northeast hands-down.  There’s no beating around the bush.  I grew up around it and people can say what they want, but when it comes down to it, he just wants to drive.”

Mike couldn’t be happier to win those events.
“It just feels great, we’ve had a good car all year and have won some of the biggest races,” said Mike.  “We’re going to come up a little bit short in the championship run I think, but we’ve got nothing to hang our heads about.  We’ve won some good races.”

Although Ben Rowe now has a comfortable lead in the championship race, Mike Rowe is not out of the picture either.  If Ben stumbles in next Saturday’s season finale
at Star Speedway (NH), Mike Rowe, Cassius Clark and

possibly even Johnny Clark could be right there to take away the championship. will have more on the point race,  ageless Rollie MacDonald, hometown hero Alan Tardiff and a very strange looking, but fast, racecar that another Beech Ridge regular ran on Sunday later this week in our leftovers from the Pullen Heavy Industries weekend.

George Philbrick's #99 took a hard hit.
Mike Rowe's #24.  (Norm Marx Photo)