Ben Rowe, With A Little Help From Some Friends,
Wins The 2009 PASS South Championship
Title is His Sixth in PASS and Came While
Driving Several Different Cars This Season
By Mike Twist
Before the start of the 2009 season, Ben Rowe already had one of the most complete Super Late Model resumes out there. He had won four PASS North championships. He had captured the checkered flag in the Oxford 250 twice while that was still a Pro Stock (SLM) event. He was a champion in the old NEPSA series. He had dozens of victories from Canada to the Southeast.
And he had accomplished all of these things for only two car owners. In the early days of his career, Rowe drove for the Estes #00 Hi-Tech Motorsports team. For the past several seasons, he drove for Maine contractor Richard Moody's organization.
In 2009, Rowe added another few championships to his resume. This time though, he managed to drive for four different car owners in just one title-winning PASS South season.
Rowe turned a limited schedule run in Moody's cars into that championship season by picking up rides in Bubba Pollard's back-up car, a machine owned by Canadian-bred chassis guru Gary Crooks and in a car that his father, legendary Maine racer Mike Rowe, pulled out of a barn to hit the track when nothing else was available to run.
Along with a dedicated crew of a few close friends, and the help of many others from time to time, Ben Rowe won the 2009 PASS South and PASS National Super Late Model championships.
Rowe clinched the PASS South title by just starting Saturday's Howler 125 season finale at Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a race that he would eventually finish fourth in.
“This means a lot for me and two or three guys here. There were three guys who came down with me to every race this season,” said Rowe after the race. “Richard Moody was good enough to start off with us at the beginning of the year. We started strong and ended strong with him. Along the way, I was six different cars to win this championship - Bubba Pollard and his family, I can't thank them enough. Gary Crooks [helped] and my own father [Mike Rowe] stepped up - I ran his car two or three times. It's pretty special. One guy can run one car all year and do pretty good, but when you get in six different vehicles, it's pretty neat to accomplish that.”
With a solid ride in PASS North with Moody's team, a part-time gig driving an ACT Late Model for New Hampshire's Avery Motorsports and a resume that is already so long, you might think that it would be easier for Rowe to just sit back an enjoy a little off time than it would be to scramble for rides down South. Yes, it might be easier. But Rowe is a racer. He doesn't know anything about easy - just about finding the next challenge.
“We still love to go out and race, that's why we did the South deal,” said Rowe. “We had never raced or won at some of the tracks down here. It was a challenge and that's why we did it. It's amazing to look back and think that we have won six championships with PASS, but now we are going to take some time off and go hunting and then start right back in for next year.”
There is one thing that Rowe would rather do than hunt this off-season though and that would be to run the Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. While that isn't in the cards quite yet for Rowe, it might be in the future.
“I would really like to go to the Snowball one of these days. I know Speed51 says they would really like to see me there, as soon as we get the motor rules squared around we will definitely do some of these big winter races and test out this new Leavitt chassis [which was won as part of the PASS National SLM champion's package] this winter.”