never very far out front though. Both Clarks were hot on his tail through the closing laps of the race. Nobody was shy about trying to lead the race either.
“Neither one of us wrecked,” said Rowe said of the battle, specifically when it came to a close fight for the lead between him and Cassius Clark. “We hit each other front to tail and side to side. You can do that racing with people like that. When you can run that hard, it’s fun. He passed me and moved me out of the way and I’d return the favor on the next lap. When you can get out afterwards and smile, that’s great. You can do that with good people.”
“We had a hell of a race with Johnny and Benji,” said Cassius Clark. “At the end, he [Ben Rowe] was throwing blocks and I was throwing punches. He just came out on top.
“I wasn’t going to spin him or anything. I could have spun him and he could have spun me. It was just good hard racing. That’s what Unity Raceway is built for, to beat and bang.”
Ironically, the only time during the race when Rowe and
BEN ROWE BEATS THE CLARKS AT UNITY by Mike Twist
Nason and Chubbuck Clash After Battle for Lead
When a job needs to be done, true professionals step up and get it done no matter what obstacles there might be in their way.
And then there was Ralph Nason, whose wheels might have been the only parts of his racecar that weren’t mangled by the end of the day.
Before the race, all eyes were fixed on Nason. The Unity Raceway owner and three-time Oxford 250 winner won Saturday’s Outlaw Late Model race, but didn’t get enough of victory lane. So he showed up Sunday for the Super Late Model portion of the weekend with his Outlaw-bodied car [which was allowed to run with added weight]. Nason was significantly quicker than everyone else in practice and won his heat race to earn the pole position for the feature.
Cassius Clark made too much contact was after the checkered flag. Cassius reportedly gave Rowe a tap of congratulations, which sent Rowe spinning over into turn two. It was all in good fun though.
The rough and tumble finish came as no surprise to people familiar with the Unity track. The facility is a throw-back to racing days of old. The racing surface is weathered and the dirt banks and deep trenches around the track are unforgiving. But there aren’t very many dull races held there either.
“It’s Unity and it’s fun,” said Johnny Clark.
Some people had anything but fun during the day though. Derek Ramstrom, who was crowned as the inaugural PASS Outlaw overall champion on Saturday, had a short day on Sunday. On the first lap, he was involved in a multi-car incident and suffered a fracture to his wrist/arm area. The 15-year-old was treated at a local hospital for his injuries and was said to be in good spirits after the incident.
Three drivers had their days dampened by wheel failures. Mike Rowe saw his chances of wrestling the championship away from Clark disappear with two wheels that separated. Travis Benjamin and Cassius Clark also had a wheel fail in the same way.
So when 18 caution periods, two red flags, a rash of wheel failures and even some police involvement in the pit area marred the 150-lap PASS North season finale Sunday at Unity Raceway, it was a trio of professionals who got down to business and saved the day. Ben Rowe, Cassius Clark and Johnny Clark banded together to treat fans to a classic battle as the race wound down.
For their troubles, Ben Rowe was rewarded with the race victory, Johnny Clark was rewarded with the 2006 PASS North championship and Cassius Clark was rewarded with the satisfaction of finishing second with a car that could have easily DNF’ed after a pair of early incidents.
According to the box score, Rowe led the final 35 laps of the race – at least at the start-finish line. Rowe was
Ben Rowe's #4 gets a little sideways with Cassius Clark (#8) and Johnny Clark (#54) in hot pursuit as the laps click down at Unity. (51 Photo)
When the green flag flew, Alan Tardiff took the lead from the outside of the front row. He only got to stay there for one lap before Nason rocketed by him and pulled away. For the next portion of the race, the restarts were the only times that anyone could even get close to Nason’s #10. Otherwise, Nason was toying with the competition like a cat plays with a mouse.
Nason was even warned not to jump the restarts. At one point, he even stopped on the track under caution to talk to race officials – which caused a logjam on the inside line of cars. Richie Dearborn, Curtis Gerry and Corey Williams all ran into the back of each other when Nason stopped short to discuss the topic of restarts with the officials.
It was one of those restarts that did Nason in. Coming to the green flag on lap 80, it was Nason on the inside and Scott Chubbuck on the outside when the two made contact and headed into the turn one sand pile. Nason was done for the day, Chubbuck would recover to battle back to 10th.
Neither driver was happy. Chubbuck visited Nason’s car
Ben Rowe goes for a spin after the race is over.
Rowe's #4 Richard Moody Racing team won their third straight race. (Norm Marx Photo)
on the track after the two got stuck. Tempers also flared in the pit area, where family members and crew members exchanged insults, vulgarities and extended their middle fingers in protest. Two Maine State Police and two Waldo County Sheriff cruisers were called to the scene. People were questioned and a police presence remained in the pit area until the haulers left at the end of the day, but nobody was arrested.
“It my eyes, I got run out of real estate by a guy who was a half-second faster than the rest of the field,” said Chubbuck. “He was going to go back to the lead two laps after I passed him, so I don’t know what he wants.”
“We were racing on a restart and I got my nose in front of him,” said Nason, who also stated that the race was his to lose. “We were racing down the front straightaway and he turned down on me. He caught my right rear corner and that put me sideways and into the bank.
Ralph Nason's #10 was slick on the track during the race, but was heavily damaged in an incident with Scott Chubbuck just past halfway. (51 Photos)
“You cannot race that guy. I’ve raced him over and over. Every time that you are competitive and he has a fast car and you try to race him, you end up that way.”
Chubbuck said that the incident wasn’t a result of old issues between the two and that it had more to do with watching Nason race the day before.
“Probably last night is what led to it,” said Chubbuck. “I watched a 100 lapper last night and watched him run people off the racetrack and all over the place before the restart happened. I pretty much decided then that if I got beside him and I couldn’t see the dotted lines going into turn three when we took the green, that I would be right on his door and that’s where I was.”
The incident could have had a touch of vigantism too.
“It’s a great tour and we love racing here,” said Chubbuck’s car owner, Jay Cushman. “When someone like Ralph comes, he doesn’t race like the rest of us. We raced how many laps this year with all of the same guys and we didn’t have any problems. Then Ralph shows up. He doesn’t live by the same rules that the rest of us live by. He doesn’t play by the same rules. For the most part, the young guys are scared of him. They are intimidated. But there are a bunch of guys who aren’t and won’t be pushed around.
“He should have known that Scott wasn’t going to let him play that way. Scott had complete permission to race him like he raced us. That’s how we race on this tour. We race them like they race us.”
“Johnny [Clark], Benji [Rowe] and Mike [Rowe] were running for points so they just stayed away from him. I didn’t,” said Chubbuck.
With the help of several other teams, Chubbuck’s car was repaired and he went on to finish 10th.
Johnny Clark won the championship after finished third behind Ben Rowe and Cassius Clark. Local hotshoe Jeff Burgess finished fourth and rookie Trevor Sanborn overcame an early race incident to come back and finish in the fifth position.
Mike Rowe’s wheel woes left him in the 14th finishing position, which kept him in the second position of the PASS North standings.
We’ll have much more from Unity, including talk of wheels, championships and cooperation between teams, later this week on Speed51.com.
The police arrived at Unity to calm things down after the Nason-Chubbuck incident. They stuck around for the rest of the afternoon to maintain order. (51 Photos)