RAIN THE ONLY THING TO SLOW ROWE IN PASS OPENER by Mike Twist
After Only 27 Laps, The Rains Came And Never Stopped
The only thing that could beat Ben Rowe on Saturday afternoon at the White Mountain Motorsports Park (NH) was Mother Nature. Rowe ran the quickest lap in time trials for the PASS Pro Stock (Super Late Model) season opener, led wire-to-wire in both his heat race and feature for the PASS Modifieds and was leading the PASS feature when rain showers halted the event after the 27-lap mark. The remaining 123 laps will be made up May 8th.
Rowe actually started the event in the fourth position after the time trials were shuffled through the “PASS Dash” heat race. Sammy Sessions started on the pole position and stayed out front for five laps.
Cassius Clark was running second with Rowe in close pursuit on lap five when the lapped car of Dan Gallant slowed in front of the leaders at the end of the backstretch. Sessions and Clark went high around his #10 car, while Rowe ducked underneath all four machines and came out of turn four with the lead.
Meanwhile, a few of the other drivers were having problems. Larry Gelinas, the White Mountain winner from last July, spun by himself within the first few laps; Rookie contender Donnie Lashua qualified in the top ten but dropped off course with a mechanical problem on lap 17 and Travis Kheil took a hard shot into the turn one wall a few laps later. He was unhurt, but his #24k racecar was heavily damaged.
During the delay for Kheil’s wreck, raindrops started to fall. PASS officials, eager to keep heat in the track for what appeared to be a passing shower, elected for an extended caution period. This caused several cars to start to run
“This is pretty disappointing,” Gordon said. “We took the rear end out and had it gone through. I knew that there was a little chip taken out of the ring and pinion. The guy who does my rear ends said it wouldn’t be a bother. I don’t know for sure that’s what did us in, but I have an idea.
"It looks like my points are going to take a hit right off the bat, so I’m going to go for the wins this year and the hell with the points.”
There was still a little bit more racing to be had after Gordon’s exit - a full six of competition to be precise. Cassius Clark got by Sessions for second before the showers got heavier and forced officials to throw the red flag.
It first appeared that when Tracy Gordon gave up a top five position to pit, that he might be cooling his car down. However, the problem was much worse for the Strong, Maine driver. The ring and pinion gear in his rear end had broken and the problem was terminal.
Ben Rowe's #00 was in the lead when the rains came at White Mountian.
The crews begin to cover up the cars from a rain shower that just wouldn't let up and forced the cancellation of the remainder of the event.
A rain delay was called and eventually it was determined that there would be no more racing before the end of the day. Rowe was the leader at the time of the red flag, followed by Clark, Sessions, Patrick Laperle and Scott Mulke.
“It looked like the lapped car was going to go to the bottom, but he went to the top and that opened the door for me,” Rowe said. “I saw the opening down low and squeezed right through it. This place is tight so you have to pass where you can.”
Sessions and Clark now had the task of pursuing Rowe. The three drivers were pulling away from the rest of the field and looked to put on a good battle for the top spot.
A broken rear end gear will keep Tracy Gordon from making the return trip to White Mountian for the make up.