PASS 300 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. Rowe won the event hands down. Making it even sweeter for the RMR team though was the fact that in Rowe’s tire tracks was the #44 of new teammate Trevor Sanborn.
Other than the final result, the race really wasn’t that much different for the team than many other events during the season.
“This is just what we’ve been doing all year at RMR,” said Rowe. “We just haven’t been there at the end. Either I would run into stuff or something would break.”
Rowe led the first lap from the outside pole and only allowed one other man, Jeff Taylor, to pace the race. Taylor led less than 50 laps early in the event, but gave up the top spot to Rowe on lap 63. At that point, Rowe checked out and didn’t even give up the lead for his scheduled pit stop.
“Tonight, we were dominant to lead that many laps,” said
BEN ROWE WINS HIS FIRST FOR RMR AT BEECH RIDGE by Mike Twist
#4 Team Dominates PASS 300 As Plenty of Others Wreck Around Them
When the Richard Moody Racing team stepped up their program at the beginning of the 2006 PASS North Super Late Model season, it was only a matter of time before the team would get their first victory. The team assembled an impressive array of drivers and team members before 2006 and also invested in some of the best equipment out there. Winning only seemed natural.
Benjamin. “But I don’t know if he was just riding because he had such a lead.”
While the race was an easy cruise for Rowe, it was anything but that for many of his competitors. In fact, the chances of needing a new clip on a team’s racecar after this event were greater than the odds of finishing on the lead lap.
Rowe. “The car was even better than it showed. I was just pedaling it and trying to save the right front [tire]. We pitted, came in and took four tires and still came out in the lead. I can’t say enough for these guys. They are just super.”
“I don’t know how many guys did it, but we put four tires on,” said team owner Richard Moody about Rowe’s pit stop. “Everyone else that I saw took two and we still came out in the lead. That’s how good that my team is.”
Rowe was on a mission to lap the entire field and if you take the lucky dog rule out of the equation, he almost succeeded. The only cars that Rowe did not lap during the race were his teammate Sanborn and Scott Mulkern.
“I really just couldn’t believe that I was lapping Jeff Taylor, my father [Mike Rowe] and the Whorffs,” said Rowe. “I kept hollering to my guys and asking them what was happening. They told me that the car was really that good.
“I wasn’t pushing it. I think that with this type of motor and chassis here, the easier that you run it, the faster it will go.
At various points late in the race, it looked like Sanborn, Mulkern or Travis Benjamin might have been able to reel in Rowe, but it was just a cat and mouse game. Every time that Rowe looked to be slowing down, he would just speed up again within a few laps.
“The car got a little free at the end,” said Rowe. “I think that I freed it up too much and probably should have just left it alone. Trevor was coming and I just wanted to get this thing home.”
“We were close, but I don’t know that we had enough to get on the outside of him,” said Sanborn. “On that long run my car was better, so it’s hard to tell. I’m just glad that we finished one-two.”
“At one point, we were catching him [Rowe],” said
But winning didn’t come right away. It didn’t happen in the season-opener at Oxford, when Ben Rowe and Travis Khiel were both quick, but got caught up in other people’s wrecks. It didn’t occur at Thompson, when Rowe had the fastest car on the track before blowing a tire and hitting the wall. In didn’t happen in July’s 150-lap PASS race at Oxford, when Khiel needed to settle for second after developing a late race misfire. It wasn’t going to take place in a non-PASS open show either, thanks to Rowe getting taken out in lapped traffic while leading the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford.
Where it did finally happen though was in PASS North’s biggest race of the season – Saturday’s rain-delayed
The PASS 400 weekend was delayed a week due to rain, but when the features did run - there weren't many clouds in the sky. (Jamie Williams Photo)
The trouble really got going on lap 11, when Bill Penfold made contact with Alan Tardiff twice. After the second bump, Tardiff cut a tire and slowed on the frontstretch. A rabid pack of racecars were right on Tardiff’s tail and predictably, all hell broke loose. Donnie Whitten launched over Tardiff’s car into the air. Corey Williams and Cassius Clark took head-first trips into the frontstretch wall. Dave Dion and Curtis Gerry both took hard hits. Dion continued. Gerry did not.
Clark, Whitten and Williams were also done for the night. Clark also suffered a broken finger from the wreck in addition to the heavy damage that his racecar incurred.
As bad as that wreck was though, the worst hits were still left to come. On lap 41, Alan Wilson had a tire go flat and he collected the #35 of Garry Johnson. Both drivers were ok, but their cars were far from it thanks to contact with each other and the backstretch wall.
Just past halfway, the team of Bill Whorff, Jr. and his son Jeremie were running solidly in the top 10. Jeremie Whorff got involved in a melee on the backstretch and spun around. His #00 was stopped backwards in the middle of the track when his father, with no place to go, slammed into it hard. Both cars were done for the night. Jeremie took a hard hit in the wreck. He climbed from the car under his own power, but was transported to a local hospital for rib injuries to be attended to.
Non-wreck trouble claimed a few other competitors. Scott Chubbuck has mechanical problems and T.J. Brackett has handling woes drop him out. Tardiff recovered from his early wreck to race back towards the top five before his alternator gave out and forced him to limp around to an 11th-place finish.
But the bad luck stayed away from the RMR team this time. Rowe easily won the race with Sanborn on his tail after starting back in the 24th position.
Jeremie Whorff (#00) was stopped backwards on the track when his father Bill came around to find noplace to go with his #0. Bill spun his car to avoid hitting Jeremie head-on, but it was still a hard hit. (Top - Jamie Williams Photo, Bottom - 51 Photo)
Ben Rowe's pit stop was good enough that he got four new tires and didn't give up the lead. (Norm Marx Photo)
And there was no happy place after the day was though the combined pit area of the #4 and #44 cars.
“Rick gives us everything that we need to get the job done, so it’s just a matter of us going out and doing that,” said Rowe. “Tonight, we did.”
“I’m feeling pretty excited,” said Sanborn. “That was a good run to have both Richard Moody cars running up front and finishing one-two. It’s something to remember.”
Garry Johnson heavily damaged his #35 car, but climbed out okay. (Top - Jamie Williams Photo), Corey Williams was sore, but ok, after his #47 went head-first into the frontstretch wall. (Middle - Jamie Williams Photo). Cassius Clark broke a finger when his #8 wrecked. (Bottom - 51 Photo)
“I’m really proud of this team,” said Richard Moody. “Ben Rowe is the best driver on the circuit. He’s young and he’s going to be doing this for awhile. I’m so happy to have him as my driver. Trevor Sanborn is a young gun and he’s good. He’s calm and doesn’t panic.
“I have a great team. All of these guys work hard and it’s come together. We’ve led so many races and had little things go wrong and we’ve gotten wrecked by a Nextel Cup guy. But tonight it
came together and Benny was dominant. You saw that three weeks ago when he led 90 of the 150 laps and the car tightened up a little bit at the end. Now tonight, he got it done.”
“I’m so happy for this team,” said Richard’s son Josh Moody. “It took a little longer than we thought to get here, but it finally happened. It came at a good race too. I’ve been a little bit of this for the past few years and I’m happy to see it finally come together, “I’m ecstatic about the guys that we have on this team. We’ve been real close and finally tonight it was our turn.”
So what’s next for an encore? Rowe is out of the running for the 2006 PASS North title, but there are still two more events on the tour’s schedule to try and win.
“I think that now we might be hard to beat. This is a great night for us, now we go on to the next race in two weeks [at Antigonish, Nova Scotia].
After that, there are also some races down South that the RMR team is going to be towing to.
“We’re getting ready to go South,” said Josh Moody. “We’re gearing up for the South Boston [November’s Mason-Dixon Meltdown] race and the Lakeland race [Speedfest in January]. I think that we are going to try and squeeze a few more races down there in too.”
Speed51.com will have more from Beech Ridge, including our regular leftovers, later this week.