IT'S THE CLARKS vs. THE ROWES TO DECIDE TOP FOUR IN PASS POINTS by MikeTwist
If Ben Rowe Has Problems, The Title Fight is Wide Open
The entire second half of the IBG-PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) season has produced a pretty darn good point battle between Rowe and Clark…oh wait. We really meant to say the Rowes and the Clarks.
opened up a little bit of breathing room heading into this Saturday’s season finale at Star. However, his fate is not cast in stone quite yet.
Rowe only needs to finish 16th or better to clinch his third career PASS title. That shouldn’t be a problem, since his last three starts at the track have resulted in two victories and a third-place finish. However, a performance of Rowe’s only other start at Star could spell disaster for his title hopes.
In 2001, Rowe started on the pole and led the first 14 laps at Star before his transmission broke and he finished 25th. A repeat of that performance, coupled with a strong run by his father Mike or Cassius Clark, would end Ben’s championship fight.
“There’s never breathing room,” said Ben Rowe. “We just have to go in and not worry about it. If we get in the top 10, we don’t have to worry what anyone else does.”
Mike Rowe is second in points, only six markers ahead of Cassius Clark. That means that if Clark finishes four positions ahead of Mike Rowe, he gets to move into the runner-up spot of the standings. If Ben Rowe drops out
Mike Rowe has won more races than anyone else in 2005, but he's second in points. (Norm Marx Photo)
early, a close race suddenly opens up.
“Now we are legitimately third,” said Cassius Clark after the Beech Ridge race, when he broke a tie for that position. “It’s still pretty close, so we’ll see what happens. Ben would have to have a bad day [to catch him], but we could still wind up second and that wouldn’t be bad.”
Mike Rowe hasn’t worried about points all season long. He’s just won five times. Now he’s in the position to capitalize on any possible bad luck that his son has.
Cassius Clark has an outside chance at the title.
“If you go after wins, the points will fall as you go,” said Mike Rowe. “We’re just going down there to try and win that one and we’ll let things fall the way that they will. But I think that Benji’s got it covered. What I would do if I were him would be to just go out there and ride. He’s smart. He knows what he has to do to win it.”
Johnny Clark has been in the thick of a point battle all season, but he’s on the outside looking in at Star. To defend his title, Clark would need to finish 33 positions ahead of Ben Rowe at Star. Since there are less than 30 entries likely to start the race, that is an impossible task.
Four drivers have pretty much defined the season to date. Mike Rowe has won five times and his son Ben has won on four occasions. Defending champion Johnny Clark has won twice and his pal, the unrelated Cassius Clark, has won three times. The only non-Rowes or non-Clarks who have won this year are Patrick Laperle, Richie Dearborn and Rick Martin, who each have a single victory.
So needless to say, it’s been the Clarks and the Rowes heading up the points chase for most of the recent races. The margin has been tight for most of the year.
With a second-place finish at Beech Ridge and a finish of no worse than seventh since early July, Ben Rowe has
Ben Rowe is in the driver's seat when it comes to winning the PASS championship. (51 Photo)
But that’s OK. Clark is going to try and make up for a lost chance at a championship by scoring himself another win.
“We’re going there to win and that’s it. We can’t lose fourth in points. I’m pretty sure that we can’t even get a third-place out of it if there are 25 cars there. It would also be hard to improve. [Johnny would have to finish 14 spots in front the other Clark or 17 spots in front of Mike Rowe to do that]
"I don’t see it happening, so we’ll go to win and at least the points pressure is off now.”
Speed51.com will be on hand at Star Speedway to tell you who wins the race and the championship. Stay tuned this weekend for complete coverage of the final PASS race that will take place in 2005.
Johnny Clark's Beech Ridge problems took him out of the title fight - so he will go to Star with the sole purpose of winning the race. (51 Photo)