Leftovers: PASS North at Wiscasset by Mike Twist
Cassius is Back, Remembering a Friend and More
Cassius Clark's new-look, old-school #8. (Jamie Williams Photo)
CASSIUS BACK IN THE #8, BUT HAS ROUGH NIGHT
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wasn’t the only driver who announced lately that he’s out of the #8 car. Cassius Clark said the same thing several weeks back after parting ways with long-time car owner Ed Chapman.
But unlike anything that will surely happen with Junior and DEI, it turned out the Cassius’ departure from the #8 team only ended up lasting one race. Clark returned with the team at Wiscasset.
“I’m back, but not the way that we hoped,” said Clark.
That was because Clark got caught in the “big one” on lap 102, which eliminated he from the race and left him with a finish of 26th. Before that though, he was very competitive in his new/old ride.
“It’s the same car, we just changed a few things on it,” said Clark. “We got some things smoothed out and we changed some things around. We were going good there and had a flat tire running down Johnny [Clark]. We had just gotten to second. So we had to pit and then got caught up with the backmarkers. We got drilled from behind and bent the trailing arm. We also bent the nose up a little bit, but it wasn’t too major.”
On thing that was noticeably different though was the paint scheme on the #8. Gone was the familiar blue, silver and red livery. Instead, Clark sported some “old school” white and red colors that resembled the Ridgewood Toothpicks Buick Regal that his father and crew chief Billy Clark ran at Oxford Plains Speedway in the 1980’s.
“We wanted to try something a little different, so we painted it up like the old man’s car from back in the day. I wanted to do that for a long time and had the opportunity, so we went for it. It looked pretty good before we were finished tonight. But we’ll get it shined back up and ready to race again. I think that we’ll go to Bangor [the August 26th Speedway 95 race near Bangor]. We need to get a little revenge there.”
ROWE HONORS AN OLD FRIEND
Also sporting a retro look at Wiscasset was Mike Rowe, who ran the #12x on his PT Watts machine, while his teammate Stan Meserve wheeled Rowe’s usual #2 car.
“Stan Meserve came up to run the other car and we had two number twos on the team,” said Rowe. “So I said to [car owner] Paul [Watts], ‘why don’t we put the #12x on mine?’ I ran that for Dave Kimball here about 15 years ago or so. He had passed away, so I thought it would be neat to run that for him. We had to change a number anyways, so I said that Stan should run the #2 and I’d run the #12x. It was neat.”
Some in the pits estimated that Rowe and Kimball won at least 12-15 races together and maybe more. Rowe didn’t know the exact number, but did recall some good times with the combination.
“I don’t know. I’m not sure, but we won a few,” said Rowe. “It was a lot of fun to race with him.”
In the PASS North race on Sunday, Rowe drove the #12x to a fifth-place finish. It wasn’t a perfect night, but not a bad one either.
“It was loose in and loose off all night,” said Rowe. “We pitted twice and it was still loose. We just missed the set-up.”
BENJAMIN STARTS TO GET RESULTS
Over the past few seasons in PASS North, there has nobody with the bad luck streak that Travis Benjamin has had. The Maine driver has been fast enough, smooth enough and talented enough to win on multiple occasions. But he’s never been lucky enough. A four-race streak of bad luck took him through the Riverside Speedway (NH) race, but a runner-up finish started to turn things around at Scotia Speedworld two weeks ago.
Mike Rowe's #12x is heavy traffic. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Benjamin continued to improve his stock by finishing third at Wiscasset.
“This is the way that we should have been finishing all year long,” said Benjamin. “We’ve been running like this, but just not able to finish. We were missing little stuff, but the last two weeks have been much better for us. We tried something new this week and I think it will work at some places, but not here.”
One recent addition to the team has made a big difference already.
“Everyone is working so hard. We just hired Kevin McDaniel two weeks ago and he’s making it easier on me, Corey and the whole team. Just having that one guy in the shop all of the time. Before we would work on the car from six in the morning and go to bed at Midnight. We were always rushing to do stuff. With him being there, right now it’s only two days a week, but it will be full time soon. We can now take our time and double-check everything.
“We knew that we could do it, now it is finally starting to come around.”
Dearborn's #33 (Rick Ibsen Photo)
Scott Chubbuck's Hight Motorsports #77 (Jamie Williams Photo)
Scott Chubbuck drove the team car to a runner-up finish at Wiscasset and knows that the team has some great times ahead of them.
“We’re having fun,” said Chubbuck. “It’s a good bunch of guys. A lot of people thought that they were car polishers and that they didn’t know much about racing, but we’re doing it right and proving them wrong.
“We’re pretty sure that we’re going to Bangor and then we’ll be going to Fredericton for the [NBIS Peterbilt] 250.”
WHITE MAKES SUCCESSFUL MOVE TO PROMOTER
Doug White knows all about the PASS North tour. He used to compete on it with his #45 car. But that car has been long since sold and it seems like White is finished with driving racecars for the time being. He has found a new role in the sport though.
CHUBBUCK FITS IN WITH HEIGHT TEAM
The Height Chevrolet team had run a limited schedule of PASS North races for several seasons, but never quite had the kind of success that they wanted. A runner-up finish in 2005 at Unity with Ralph Nason behind the wheel helped boost their stock, but they were never seen as a top-notch operation.
White purchased Wiscasset Raceway this summer and immediately worked out a deal to hold this late-season PASS North show. The race was a success by everyone’s standards. The stands were full in the pits and on the frontstretch, the midway was crowded, the concession stand lines were long and everyone seemed to be smiling. Even the parking and camping lots were overflowing. Spectators who did not get to the track early had to park up to a quarter mile down the road reportedly.
White was very thankful for the way the event unfolded and was sure to give credit for that. After the race was finished, he personally drove his golf cart from trailer to trailer in the pit area thanking each team for supporting his track.
BERRY HAS BAD LUCK DROP HIM DEEP IN TOP 10
Steve Berry was pulling the field early on at Wiscasset, but the rookie driver had some issues later in the race which left him with a finish of sixth – still a good run, but not quite what he hoped for.
“It just took 20 or 30 laps before it stopped being tight in the middle,” said Berry. “It was horrible after a caution. Then when we got going after being in second, the #04 [Joey Porciello], the #14 [Rick Martin] and the #35 [Derek Ramstrom] were lapped and busy fighting for the lucky dog. That put me back to seventh.
"Once we had that long yellow, our right front bleeder was down and we just couldn’t get it built back up. I probably should have been second or third.”
BEN ROWE HAS DOUBLE FEATURE WEEKEND
Ben Rowe and his Richard Moody Racing team had a busy weekend of racing. On Saturday, they competed in the ACT Late Model race at White Mountain Motorsports Park and stunk up the show before dropping off the pace with a late-race flat tire.
At White Mountain, Rowe ended up finishing in the 27th. On Sunday, Rowe finished
fourth at Wiscasset - without any flat tires.
“”It’s a lot of fun. Those guys give me great cars to race and when you can run up front,
it’s a lot of fun. Last night, we were leading and had a right front flat. We didn’t quite
have a good enough car tonight. We had about a third-place car. If the race stayed
green, maybe we could have gotten the #77 [Scott Chubbuck], but he took off on a
Travis Benjamin by his #17. (Jamie Williams Photo)
Steve Berry's #15. (Norm Marx Photo)
Ben Rowe's #4. (Norm Marx Photo)