PASS LEFTOVERS: THOMPSON by Mike Twist
Cassius Quick, Clark & Rowe Have Late Race Tangle, Practice Hurts
CASSIUS KO'ed EARLY AT THOMPSON
The fastest car of the night at Thompson might have been the #8 of Cassius Clark. The former Legends car driver is still chasing his first victory on the PASS tour and from the start of the race, it looked like it might be his night. However, a mechanical problem dropped him to the rear of the field on lap 36. After that, his night got even worse.
"We were hooked up," said Clark. "If that thing would have gone green, we probably would have lapped two-thirds of the field. Then an oil line fitting was loose on the engine and I don't know if we lost any laps or not - we could never get an answer about that. We were trying to stay out of trouble and there was a big pile up on the frontstretch. We got slowed down and the guy behind us never even lifted and put us into the wall."
After the race was over, it appeared that the two drivers would exchange a few heated words. However, Gordon explained what happened to cause the wreck and cooler heads prevailed.
"I guess that there was some dirt on the track and Tracy was trying to keep his spot," said Clark. "I had a real good run on him, but as soon as we both lifted to go into turn three I said 'oh no'. He went too straight into the corner to make it. If he was racing all by himself I think that he still would have been going for the wall. I happened to be there and went around."
Gordon said that there was little that he could do to prevent the incident.
"I drove into turn three and went down low," Gordon said. "Somebody put a bunch of dirt on the track and I just lost it. I cleaned out the #54 car (Clark) and myself."
CLARK AND GORDON TANGLE IN CLOSING LAPS
With five laps to go in the Thompson event, Tracy Gordon and Johnny Clark went for a synchronized spin through the third turn after Gordon slid up into Clark's car. Both drivers recovered to finish in the top ten, but before the wreck they were battling for top three positions.
Cassius Clark will have to wait a bit longer before his first PASS victory. (51 Photo)
ELDER ROWE UNHURT IN HARD WRECK
Although there were plenty of wrecks during the night, the hardest hit came when Mike Rowe got forced into the frontstretch wall. The Maine racing legend was not injured in the wreck, but his #24x car was heavily damaged one week before the running of the Banknorth 250 at the Oxford Plains Speedway.
"I'm alright," said Rowe after the race. "The 1m (Norm Wrenn) was trying to get away from the #14 (Rick Martin) and just turned me into the wall. That's racing. We've got a lot of work to do now to try and get this car ready for the 250."
PRACTICE NOT KIND TO BEN ROWE, BUT #00 TEAM OVERCOMES
Tracy Gordon (right) had a little explaining to do to Johnny Clark (left) after the race. (51 Photo)
Earlier in the day, Rowe's son Ben also tested the wall. He wrecked his primary car in practice and his #00 team rolled out a back-up car.
"The left rear tire went flat going into turn three," said Rowe. "I went around and the concrete stopped me."
Rowe finished second in the feature after the hard work of his crew paid off.
"When something like this happens in practice and we don't skip a beat, it shows how good the team is. This car is almost as good as the one I wrecked and it's a credit to my guys. All that I do is get in and drive."
Ben Rowe's #00 got battered in practice at Thompson. (51 Photo)
CLARK HAS PRACTICE PROBLEMS AS WELL
Point leader Johnny Clark also had his share of trouble in practice. His team needed to change motors after a camshaft broke on his #54 during hot laps.
"The engine lost power and we came in and took the valve covers of. We found that it was a cam problem," said Clark. "These guys busted their butts and got a spare motor in the car. We had built the motor that was in the car just for this place, so we were a little down on power in the race."
OTHER DRIVERS ALSO HEXED IN HOT LAPS
Ben Rowe and Johnny Clark were not the only two drivers having trouble in practice. Tracy Gordon scraped the wall and then had clutch problems on his car, Rick Martin had transmission troubles and even race winner Ted Christopher was involved in a minor on track incident with GeGe Gravel in the afternoon practice session.