The Rowe Report - Two Tracks, Three Four Days, Thousands of Miles & One Driver: Ben Rowe
Ben Rowe's Daily Journal As He Attempts To Run Two Races In Two States In Mid July
One of the most talented short-track racers in the county is Ben Rowe. The Turner, Maine native is a four-time Pro All Star Series (PASS) Champion.  He is also a two-time winner of the Banknorth 250 which is held near his home in Oxford, Maine.  This weekend, Rowe will compete in two different states to try to win both the Oxford event and the second event in the PASS National tour.

On Saturday, July 19th Rowe will compete in the PASS South event at Orange County Speedway (Rougemont, North Carolina).  On Sunday July 20th, he will race in the Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway (Maine).  To race in both events, it is going to take patience, time and a lot of airline miles to do so. 

Ben Rowe will log a daily journal with, starting with the Friday practice session in North Carolina for the PASS event.  Keep up with Rowe here as he attempts to collect a possible $60,000 payday (the PASS event is $10,000-to-win while the 250 offers $25,000 plus another $25,000 in lap money).
Top: Ben Rowe drives back down pit road after discovering a problem with the car.  Bottom: Rowe's team works on the power steering issue as the day's practice concludes.  (51 Sports Photos)
11:00 PM EASTERN – A Top Five, End of a Long Weekend

It’s finally over.  It’s Monday night.  We were decent early on and we tried to make some adjustments, the car got real tight after the halfway break.  We tried to make some changes so it wouldn’t do that.  We were in the right spot fourth or fifth and we had a yellow with ten to go and we got buried behind some lap cars. I fell back to seventh or eighth and I had to move some of them out of the way.  The fans like it, but you can’t pass on the outside at all.  We would catch lap traffic and we couldn’t get around them on the outside.  It was a chess match all night.  It’s not the tracks fault, we had rain, we raced on a Monday, to get a top five with David’s cars is awesome. It caps the weekend off on a good note. 

12:00 PM EASTERN – In The Show, Finally Some Sleep

Yesterday afternoon the rain finally came in, but we got some of the heats in.  I wasn’t very optimistic because there is really no outside groove because of the rain.  We started 11th in our heat and there were a few wrecks and we moved up a bunch of spots.  I got to third and the biggest thing is that we were behind Kevin Harvick and he had us by a straightaway and I was able to reel him in and get to him on the last lap.  The car is decent and that’s from me not having any laps in it at all yesterday, until the heat race.  We should be starting 17th or so in the 250 so we are going to come up with a race strategy and take it easy until it comes race time. 

I went home last night and got to bed about 9:30 or 10:00 and got a good night sleep, I got up and played around with my kids this morning before coming to the track.  We are rested and ready to go.

Ben Rowe finished third in the fifth heat race putting him into the field for the Banknorth 250.  Because of the wash out we'll have more with Ben Rowe tomorrow in Oxford.

2:00 PM EASTERN – Airplane Rides and Rain

We got here but now it’s raining. We got out of Orange County about 11pm last night and went to the hotel and got an hour and a half of sleep.  We jumped on a plane in the morning and everything went well.  We actually landed a half and hour early in Portland, ME.  We called up and found it was raining at the track, so we kind of took our time getting too the track.  This is worse, just sitting around and not running.  It’s more tiring.  I am going to go into the trailer and sit down and relax a little bit. 

They say they have band here that’s only six or seven hours long.  I have seen the radar and it looks pretty yellow to me.  If we run today great, but if not then I’ll go home and get some sleep and come back tomorrow.  I work for my dad and he said I had to be at work on Monday, but he said he would understand if I was racing. We’ll see what happens.    

ORANGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY - Rougemont, North Carolina
11:30 PM EASTERN – Riding Around, Teammate Wins

First of all we got the power steering fixed, I though we were decent tonight. We are still fighting it somewhere, we started 13th and 20 laps into the race guys up front were driving crazy and it’s a 200 lap race. Somebody turned around the five car (Preston Peltier) I don’t even know who it was and they hit the outside wall and came right back and hit us in the rear end. That knocked it over and we were just junk from there on out. We didn’t even put tires on we were six or seven laps down when we got it fixed. We just rode around

It was a good night for the 44 I see him coming and I just let him go. We ether need to copy what he’s doing a little more or get in that car or something. It was a good night for him and I think we would have been decent if it wasn’t for the wreck.   It’s just frustrating because guys are not going to win this in the first 30 laps.

We’ll get out of here tonight and go take showers and freshen up, maybe get an hour or two of sleep and head to the airport. I think we get in the air at 6:00am. We’ll land up there in Maine at 10:30am and go to the track. I talked to David (Avery) and he says the car is pretty good hopefully it’s a lot better for us tomorrow. 

ORANGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY - Rougemont, North Carolina
12:00 PM EASTERN – Stolen License, Police and Power Steering

It has been an easy morning.  I got out of bed around 8:00am or so and got some breakfast.  I headed to the airport to pick another guy up and got here around 11:00am.  We got in and are just chilling out right now, waiting for 2:00pm to see if this thing is going to run.

We stayed here last night until 9:00pm.  We were one of the last people to leave.  We were trying to get it figured out (the power steering).  Right now we are right back we ended up at Thompson last week.  Hopefully it will work.  If it works, great, we will start working on the chassis.  If not we will be in trouble.

The whole weekend has been quite a weekend.  Of course, I never carry my wallet with me and keep stuffing it in the center console of the car.  We were out having fun (Thursday night) and we came back to the car to see the side window smashed out of the rental car.  I knew someone jumped in and grabbed my wallet and everything is out like the credit cards.  The worst thing is my driver’s license.  Now I have no ID to get back on the plane.  I am supposed to be flying out tomorrow morning.

I have been in the police station a couple of times just to get them in touch with the police at the airport so I can get on the plane and fly back.  Everything is supposed to be fine.  I’ve got a report of the accident.  I had to run back and get another rental car and go from there.  Actually I have a layover in JFK airport, and I have to have a security guard with me watching me so I can get from one plane to the other, which is kind of crazy.

Nothing is going right this weekend, but hopefully we will turn it around from here.  If this thing (the car) will steer, I will forget about all this other stuff.

ORANGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY - Rougemont, North Carolina
8:00 PM EASTERN - Three Hours of Practice - Zero Laps Turned

Well, we are back.  We started off the day with practice from 5:00PM to 8:00PM.  We thought we were going to have a pretty good day.  We went out on the race track and we didn’t have any power steering.  It is an issue we fought since the end of the race at Thompson last week.  The power steering started going away, so we changed the pump.  We thought we had it cured, but we got down here, and man, we have been fighting the issue.  We are worse that we were.  We changed the pump and the rack.

We haven’t had a lap of practice out here.  We had two or three things that we wanted to get done tonight.  We are now a day behind everyone else.  These guys are busting their butts trying to get it ready.  Hopefully we will get it all back.  We have another rack and a whole complete system we are going to try. 

We will stay here another half hour or 45 minutes and try to get out of here by 9:00PM.  I know these guys are hungry and I am hungry.  We will head off, get a bite to eat at a restaurant and get back to the hotel fairly early.  If we can get in here at the race track early tomorrow we will start working on it then. 

It is going to be a long day tomorrow.  We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but we will be alright.  My team car (#44, Trevor Sanborn) is happy with his car.  We might try to take a setup I wanted to try and put it in his car to see how it is, but we will probably just copy notes from him.  

ORANGE COUNTY SPEEDWAY - Rougemont, North Carolina
3:30 PM EASTERN - The Start Of The Weekend

How are you all doing?  This is Ben Rowe.  It is Friday at 3:30PM.  I think we got here (to the track) at 1:00PM today.  I flew in yesterday to Orange County. 

Basically today we are getting ready to practice.  We got in here three hours early to get the cars prepared. 

I am staying in the AC (air conditioning) trying to lay low for the weekend.  This afternoon we are going to be practicing from 5:00PM to 8:00PM, then we are going to lay low and get some rest.  We will come back here (Saturday) to start practicing and get this race going tomorrow night at 9:00PM. 

Right after the race we are flying back to Portland, Maine.  We are supposed to land in Portland at 10:30AM or 11:00AM (Sunday), then run up to Oxford for the 250.  Hopefully we will be there by 1:00PM or 1:30PM to start the heat races.  I didn’t make out good last year, but hopefully things will turn around this year.

I hope we can get back there in plenty of time and the weather will cooperate with us.  I know they are saying up there we are supposed to have a few showers.

Hopefully if everything goes well it will be a good weekend.  We are going to hopefully lay low today, not do too much and save our energy.
Ben Rowe doing an interview at Oxford Plains Speedway after he won his first 250 in 2003. (photo credit: Oxford Plains Speedway)
Top: Ben Rowe enjoying the air conditioning in his hauler on a hot day.  Bottom: Rowe's team is getting his car ready for the Friday PASS practice.  (51 Sports Photos)
Top: While most teams were packed up and gone by 9:00pm Friday, Ben Rowe's team still worked on his car trying to get the power steering working. Bottom: Ben Rowe discussed his miserable weekend with BDI Racing owner Bob Dillner Saturday morning.  (51 Sports Photos)
Fans look on as the rain washes down the track, Ben Rowe will use this as a chance to rest up before the race.
(51 Sports Photos)
Top: The 44 of Trevor Sanborn won at Orange County. Sanborn is Rowe's teammate.  Bottom: Ben Rowe was pretty good before the wreck.  (51 Sports Photos)
Ben Rowe got practice after he made the race. He will start 17th
(51 Sports Photos)
Ben Rowe ran well in the 250. (51 Sports Photos)