Ben Rowe “Only” Finishes Fifth
Something odd happened when the PASS North race was finished at White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH) on Saturday night - Ben Rowe drove back to the pit area instead of the podium celebration on the fronstretch.
Rowe is used to winning at White Mountain and on a bad night, he still manages to salvage a top three finish. He kids that the track is “his house”, but on Saturday Rowe finished fifth.
“To be disappointed with a fifth is pretty selfish of us,” said Rowe. “We just don't know. The car got tight on entry and we just don't know why. We'll figure it out. We came here and tested and we were real good, so we just don't know.”
The night wasn't all bad though. The top five finish, along with a third-place run in the Beech Ridge season opener, means that Rowe is in already good shape when it comes to battling for the season-long PASS North points title.
“It was a good points night. Johnny won, but to finish in the top five…we can't complain. So we'll go on. We'll test. Scott's not afraid to test, so we'll do a lot of that and go to Canada. We'll get it. We don't really know why that wasn't good here because we thought it was going to be a much better car. It was decent.
Louie Shows Up, Finishes Second with a New Number
We don't see much of Louie Mechalides on the PASS North circuit anymore, but when we do he is one of the guys to beat. At White Mountain, Mechalides showed up in the Brad Watson-owned #80 Super Late Model and finished a very stout second.
“This car is pretty fast everywhere we go,” said Mechalides. “Brad Watson prepares it and I just show up and drive it. By race time, it's usually going pretty good.”
Last season, Mechalides also finished second to Johnny Clark in a PASS North race at Lee. This time around he posted the same exact result in the same exact car.
“It's the same car. It goes good,” said Mechalides. “This is the first time we good it out this year. We just didn't have anything for those guys. There were some lapped cars between us on that last restart and that didn't help.”
What wasn't the same about the car was its' number. Watson's cars usually have the #1 on their side and Mechalides often runs the #47 on his own equipment. So to have the #80 at White Mountain was a bit of a surprise.
“Sometimes, I can't find my car in the pits,” said Mechalides. “I showed up and I was like, '#80?' What's this?”
The was a good reason for the number change however. It was a decision to honor the team's sponsor - Cat Scale. Highway 80 Group owns Cat Scale and the largest truck stop in the world, Iowa 80, located in Walcott, Iowa. In fact, One of Watson's Super Late Models will be headed to the Iowa 80 truck stop next month for a show car appearance.
Mechalides doesn't know when his next PASS North race will be.
“I not sure. It's all together though, so hopefully pretty soon.”
Dearborn's Day Goes Flat
Early in the race at White Mountain, Richie Dearborn was the man to beat. He fought hard against Trevor Sanborn and Johnny Clark for the lead and stayed ahead of both racers on the majority of the laps. But it was a battle with Clark after a late race restart that led to some incident contact and caused Dearborn's #33 to have a flat tire. Dearborn finished 23rd as a result.
“It was good early on ,” said Dearborn. “We were just kind of riding around there until those guys came from the back. When they got to us, we tried picking it up a little bit. We had a restart and I got together with Johnny. It was just one of those deals again I guess. It knocked the bleeder out and that was the way it goes.”
Dearborn is only running a partial schedule in PASS North this season and doesn't know when he'll be racing next.
“No, we're done through the month of June. We might run a little bit in July, but we're not sure yet.
Sanborn Returns to Podium Ways With RMR Team
Trevor Sanborn ended up finishing third after fighting close battles throughout the race with several other competitors.
“We bumped and banged a little bit, but we came out whole and that's all that matters,” said Sanborn.
The White Mountain race marked Sanborn's return to the Richard Moody Racing stables, where he raced in previous seasons as a teammate to Ben Rowe. This time around, Sanborn was a teammate to another establish short track star - Brad Leighton. The young Mainer is happy to be back in the #44 ride.
“Definitely,” said Sanborn. “I like running the #44 car for the Moodys and working with Brian and them. It's a good time. I'm happy to finish third coming right out of the box like that. We're just good friends and things worked out.”
Sanborn will now switch his focus to running weekly at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) in the Pro Series (Super Late Model) division. In his off time, he will run more races for the Moody time with his next start possibly coming on July 13th at Lee USA Speedway (ME).
“It's going to be very, very busy this year,” said Sanborn.
Two Rowes in The Top Five
Mike Rowe finished fourth at White Mountain and was just a tick off from the podium finishers.
“We were just a little bit loose all night,” said Rowe. “We kind of freed it up a little bit because I thought it would tighten up and it didn't. But fourth isn't bad, so we'll go home with that.”
Rowe did get to race with his son Ben, who ended up fifth, late in the race.
“He was a little bit off and he was running the outside there. I got underneath him and the #44 (Trevor Sanborn) got underneath him, but it was a lot of fun racing with him.”
Next up for Mike Rowe will be starting his title defense in the Pro Series (Super Late Model) ranks at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME).
“We'll do some testing and get that car going,” said Rowe. “We have a lot of fun with the Fowlers and it's just a great deal.”
Legendre Scores a Top 10 Close to Home
Stephen Legendre has been chasing the PASS South Super Late Model schedule this season from his St. Johnsbury, Vermont home. During a break from that schedule though, he returned to White Mountain - the track where he got his start in racing and progressed through the Mini Truck, Strictly Stock and Late Model divisions. He was rewarded with an eighth-place finish.
“That's not bad at all,” said Legendre. “The last couple of weeks, we've been traveling 16 or 18 hours to get to the racetrack, so this one is 35 minutes from home. It's right in our backyard and a top ten was really good. That's what we needed. We've been struggling a little this is definitely a step forward.
Another Top 10 Finish For Doiron
Joey Doiron is starting out his rookie season in PASS North just right. He finished fourth in the season opener at Beech Ridge and backed that up with a ninth-place finish.
“We learned a lot,” said Doiron. “When we come back in September, we'll have a car that can easily contend for a win if we can get a decent starting spot. If we could have started on the bottom -- if we could have started where (race winner Johnny Clark) started -- I think we would have been pretty good. My car didn't go very good on the outside to start the race, but once we got toward the last 30 laps or so it really started to come around. Just like Beech Ridge, but we just didn't have enough time (left).”
As solid as a top ten finish was, if the cards had played out differently for Doiron at White Mountain, it could have been even better.
“I thought we had a better car. We had a good car, but it didn't help that we had to start 16th and got dragged to the back at the start. At that point, I just figured that I just wanted to salvage it. If we could come back with a top-10 -- which we did -- that was going to be like a win.”
Next Up For Clark? A Track He Loves
While White Mountain hasn't been one of Johnny Clark's favorite tracks through the years, the next stop on the schedule is someplace that he truly enjoys going to. Since Clark won at White Mountain, he is also shaping up to be an early favorite when the PASS North Super Late Models visit New Brunswick's Speedway 660 on June 12th.
“I love that place. I took twenty grand out of there after the Peterbilt 250 in 2007. We were awesome and unbelievably fast there last year until we broke a hub. But the good thing was that there were 22 cars still running when we broke. We didn't give up and put a new hub on. We lost 10 or 15 laps down and ended up 14th - which was huge coming down to the end of the year for the points championship.
- Adam Bates, who entered the White Mountain race just two points out of the PASS North point lead, drop out early with overheating problems. Bates was credited with a 24th place finish.
- ACT Late Model driver Quinney Welch won the 50-lap Late Model undercard to the PASS North race at White Mountain. Other ACT drivers in the field included Joey Laquerre and Stacy Cahoon.
- Randy Turner, Mike Rowe and Richie Dearborn won the heat races for the PASS North Super Late Models at White Mountain.
- A benefit supper for Gary Bellefleur will be held on June 5th at the Stetson Union Church in Stetson, Maine from 4-7pm. For more information, please click here.