One of the Northeast’s most established Super Late Model racers is loading up a van full of crew members and heading from Turner, ME to Pensacola, FL. Ben Rowe, a four-time PASS National champion and two-time Oxford 250 winner, will be making his way to Five Flags Speedway to compete in the 50th Annual Snowball Derby on Sunday, December 3.
“It’s one of those races like the Oxford 250 that you always hear about throughout the country,” Rowe told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I have never even been to it so I think it’d be pretty cool just to go down there and be there.”
Rowe will drive the yellow No. 4 Super Late Model for long-time car owner Richard Moody and will have guidance from one of the Gulf Coast region’s most well-known setup experts.
“In the last a little over a year we’ve been kind of hiring Mike Garvey as a consultant and working with him pretty close,” Rowe began. “He lives right near there so this year was just kind of a fit for us to go.
“He’s already told us what we need. We’ve put a new body on the car and we got that done. The plan is to have it all ready when we leave for Hickory so that it will be in the trailer. And then our hauler is going to head, right after Hickory, right to Mike’s shop and get down there. We’re going to test the Sunday before so the car will be in Mike’s shop for a day or two, and he’ll definitely point us in the right direction.”
Before making a stop at Five Flags Speedway, Rowe will compete in the Mason-Dixon MegaMeltdown at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) where he will be racing for a $15,000 winner’s check and his fifth career PASS National championship. From there, he’ll return to Maine to enjoy Thanksgiving and will leave soon after in order to make his first laps around the tough half-mile Pensacola oval.
“We’re going to load up a van and I think the day after Thanksgiving is the day we head down. Load up a van and head out.”
While some of the Super Late Model teams competing in the Snowball Derby will elect to bring in hired pit crews on race day, Rowe plans to do it the “old-fashioned” way and reward the crew members that help him all year long.
“We’re bringing all of our own guys. I know it’s a big race and I know they hire a lot of crews, but all of my guys have worked on that race car all year and they deserve to pit the car,” Rowe stated. “That’s how I feel. I’m not going to make these guys stand to the side and hire a crew just to change tires. It will be all my guys.”
Before Rowe and his team have to worry about changing tires as quick as possible, they will put much of their focus on the all-important time trials on Friday night. While Rowe isn’t a stranger to time trials due to his experience competing in PASS South races, it isn’t something he does on a regular basis in the Northeast.
“I don’t mind it. I like time trialing,” he said. “I think it takes the quickest cars there; it’s just something we haven’t done a lot. We’ll spend a lot of time testing and time trialing. Hopefully Mike Garvey will close that gap for us so that we’ll be pretty close.”
For many racers and race teams, the Snowball Derby is strictly a business trip given the fact that it’s considered the biggest pavement Super Late Model race of the year. However, Rowe looks at the race as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and plans to have fun during his first attempt at the prestigious race.
“We’re going down there to have fun. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal for us to get down there and race the Derby. That’s how I want everybody, the whole crew. I want everybody to enjoy it,” Rowe said. “We have a house rented; it’s going to be fun, but we have business to do too. We know that while we’re at the track. The downtime and the week leading up to it, there’s a lot of downtime and a lot of time for us to have fun.
“Basically, I can’t wait. We’re all going to jump in a van and have a little fun ride down there and go that way.”
Rowe joins a stout field of Super Late Model racers currently entered for the 50th Annual Snowball Derby. More information on the Snowball Derby can be found by visiting Schaeffer’s Snowball Central and visiting www.5flagsspeedway.com.
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com / MoJo Photos