BEN ROWE OVERCOMES ILLNESS AND FULL FIELD TO WIN PASS OPENER by MikeTwist
#00 Wins at White Mountain for Second Season in a Row(e)
If Ben Rowe was working a normal job on Sunday, he probably would have called in sick.
order. Larry Gelinas didn’t repeat his top five of one season ago, but that would have been difficult seeing that he didn’t enter the race. Taking his place in the top five was Cassius Clark, who was seventh a year ago.
There weren’t many surprises at White Mountain. There was some good hard racing (a little bit too hard sometimes), some gutsy driving and several entertaining storylines for fans. The most compelling of which was Rowe’s iron man victory.
“I was worn out before the beginning of the race,” said Rowe. “Under green, I was good until the last 20 laps. Then, I didn’t know where I was headed. The car was good enough to win, I just didn’t know if I was.”
Rowe wasn’t even sure that he would be able to endure to the finish.
“About 30 laps into it, I knew if we had a lot of yellows that there was no way that I could make it,” said Rowe. “Under green, I didn’t think about it because we had a really good car. Staying focused was the biggest thing for me today.”
Ben Rowe stands in the center of the top three finishers. He is joined by runner-up Scott Mulkern (L) and Cassius Clark (R). (Norm Marx Photo)
no hard feelings. Cassius Clark and Tracy Gordon tangled and there were. We’ll have full coverage of all of the post race thoughts of the PASS newsmakers later this week on Speed51.com in our PASS leftovers story.
Mulkern came alive in the final laps and started passing cars on the outside like they were standing still. He was helped by the fact that the track was oiled down by the fact that there was fluid on the track, especially in the bottom racing line.
What worked to Rowe’s favor was that there weren’t very many caution flags during the race. The first 61 laps ran clean and green. At that point, it was a different Rowe who was out front. Ben’s father Mike started on the pole and after battling with Johnny Clark for the first few laps was able to check out on the field until tangling with the lapped car of Ricky Rolfe and falling to the tail end of the lead lap himself.
Ben Rowe might have not been feeling well, but he was all business on Sunday. (51 Photo)
Tracy Gordon inherited the lead at that point, but Ben Rowe was in his tire tracks and got by him soon after the restart. From there, Rowe pretty much had the field covered while Gordon, Johnny Clark, Cassius Clark, Richie Dearborn, Mike Rowe and Scott Mulkern battled hard for the top five positions.
Sometimes the battling got to be a little bit too much. Mike Rowe and Richie Dearborn tangled, but there were
The last 10 laps, the track was so terrible,” said Ben Rowe. “I didn’t know if I was going to crash myself.”
Rowe didn’t crash and he was able to hold off Mulkern, Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark and Mike Rowe at the line.
Rowe was very much under the weather with a nasty bug this weekend. But the two-time PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) champion is running for another title this year and they don’t give mulligans in racing and award points for races that you don’t run. So when the green flag dropped for the Cabin Fever 150 at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH), he was ready to go.
Racing under these conditions couldn’t have been very enjoyable, so you couldn’t blame Rowe for wanting to get the day over with as soon as possible and that’s exactly what he did. He made it to the checkered flag quicker than anybody else and went on the win the PASS season opener for the second season in a row.
Actually, not much had changed since last year’s season opener at White Mountain. Four of the top-five finishers were the same names, but in a slightly different
“That 97 car was leaking rear end grease or something all over the place,” said Cassius Clark. “I thought that I had a left front go flat or something. Mulkern went by me on the outside and I thought, ‘Hey, he’s pretty smart’, so I wandered out there and kept up with him.”
Mulkern said that the fluid was mostly on the bottom, so went he ran up high (which he had been doing all day), his car got even faster than his competition.
“There was some oil on the bottom groove of the track,” said Mulkern. “They all started slipping and I just shot right by them.”
Even the leader had a rough time in the closing laps.
So Rowe was able to survive 150 laps of racing and take the victory. He was exhausted and dehydrated after the race and would need a relief driver to make the three hour trip back to his home in Turner, Maine.
“My wife can drive home now,” said Rowe. “I’ll lay back.”
The PASS tour now takes a week off before heading to the Oxford Plains Speedway on April 30th. Speed51.com will have full coverage of that event. But before that, stay tuned this week for a White Mountain photo gallery, as well as a hearty serving of PASS Leftovers.
Cassius Clark finds a moment to concentrate in the circus of pre-race festivities. He went on to finish third. (51 Photo)
Mike Rowe's #24 was fast, but lapped traffic tooks its toll and he finished fifth. (Norm Marx Photo)
Blue skies and a full field of racecars - it doesn't get much better than this. (51 Photo)