- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Doug Ford
It all came down to father versus son for the win at the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South 250-lap race at South Boston Speedway Saturday night. With a national championship on the line, Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine, held off father Mike for the win and the title.
Cassius Clark of Farmington, Maine, finished third, Johnny Clark of Hallowell, Maine, finished fourth and Heath Hindman of Chattanooga, Tennessee, finished fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Preston Peltier of Harrisburg, N.C., Mark Gibson of Winston-Salem, N.C., Ryan Blaney of High Point, N.C., Jay Fogleman of Durham, N.C., and D.J. Shaw of Conway, N.H.
Hindman sat on the pole for Saturday’s race, and Ben Rowe started in the fifth position, but dropped as far back as eighth by lap 75.
At that point, Corey Williams of Boothbay, Maine, who qualified second but passed Hindeman for the lead on the opening lap, held a sizable lead, with Cassius Clark, Johnny Clark, Jay Fogleman and Hindeman rounding out the top five.
Ben Rowe had moved up to third by the halfway point but fell to ninth following the sixth of nine cautions, the ninth caution flag flying on lap 145 after a wreck that involved five cars, including race leader Williams.
The race winner steadily picked off cars and moved through the field, reaching fifth by lap 156, fourth by lap 162, third by lap 175 and second by lap 182, before passing Cassius Clark for the lead on the restart following the race’s eighth caution (lap 208).
Ben Rowe came out on top of a race that featured five lead changes among four drivers, and one that was delayed by nine cautions.
Rowe, who locked up the national championship Saturday, is leading the PASS South series with one race to go.
“Its awesome to win a national championship and to win three of the four national races is also awesome,” said Ben Rowe in Victory Lane.
“We were off at the beginning of the race and made numerous pit stops, and I kept doubting myself getting behind all those lapped cars,” added Rowe, who had to start at the rear of the field several times after pitting.
“The national championship means a whole lot to us, and we’re just tickled to death,” he continued.
“The 47, I think, by far was the better race car, but, you’ve got to get to the end of these things and unfortunately, stuff happens. Cassius was way out on us and I knew I couldn’t catch him on the track, so we needed a yellow.
“I was trying to save a little bit and just keep a little ahead of my father, and when the green flag came out, we let it all loose with 50 to go.”
The race winner did not want to see the last caution flag fly and knew how tough it was going to be to hold off his father for the win.
“I’ve raced with him my whole life and everything I know he taught me, and coming in one-two down here at South Boston, that’s pretty awesome.
“It’s a big deal just to come down south. We traveled 16 hours and this is the 13th time we’ve done it this year, so it’s a lot of hard work.”
Mike Rowe joked that he taught his son too well.
“I have to give my crew all the credit, we kept making pit stops and they tightened it up for me,” he said.
“Benjie was pulling me a little bit down the straightaways and if there’s anybody I wouldn’t mind beating me, it’s him.
“He’s been traveling down here all summer, and it’s good he can do it, but he works for me and I’m going to make him work back home this week before he goes to Greenville,” he laughed.
The veteran racer said he was happy to see his sondo well.
“He proved today he could do it and he was awesome.”
Third-place finisher Clark had a strong run and would have liked to have seen Williams finish the race.
“We were racing pretty good, and he was taking it easy on his car and I on mine, but I wish he could have continued on, but stuff happens.
“I thought we had it going on the long green run, but the car just got tight and just couldn’t get enough laps to get back up there.”
Clark, who led from lap 145 until Ben Rowe passed him on lap 208, said he held a straightaway lead before the caution flag flew for the eighth time.
“They had that restart and the tires cooled down a little bit. I don’t know if a bleeder went down on the right front tire a little bit, and it picked up a bad push.
“After that, I really couldn’t do anything with them on a short run.”