64-year-old Maine racing legend Mike Rowe has been involved in his fair share of battles throughout his year’s winning Super Late Model races in the Northeast. On Saturday night at Star Speedway, Rowe was involved in one of the most exhausting battles of his career as he battled it out for the lead against his son, Ben Rowe, on the quarter-mile Epping, New Hampshire bullring.
The battle was one that had fans on their feet. It was one that involved multiple taps to the back of his No. 7 Petit Motorsports machine. But in the end, it was a thrilling battle that the elder Rowe came out on top of as he fended off his son to win his second Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North event of the 2015 season.
“My spotter was telling me where he was and Ben has a little more smoke than I do, he’s got a little more motor than I do,” Rowe told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “He got into me a couple times and I knew he wouldn’t spin me being my kid. I am really happy for him. He had been struggling for a while and I’m just glad he’s going well. It was fun racing with him whether I finished first or he did. It was an awesome race.”
Father and son swapped the lead on three different occasions between lap 51 and lap 86 of the 150-lap event. Mike Rowe took the lead for the final time on lap 86 but the battle between the two was just getting started.
The younger Rowe tried the bottom, the top, whatever he could do to get by his father as the laps winded down. The two made slight contact on a number of occasions, but each time they touched they allowed each other enough room to gather it up and continue their battle.
“It’s bittersweet,” Ben Rowe said after the race. “I wanted to win in the worst race. But if I can’t win, those guys are the ones I want to see win. That’s why we race. I was better than he was, there was no doubt. If I could have got by him, I would have been cleared. But I knew once he got by me that it was going to be difficult.”
David Oliver was able to get by Ben Rowe in the closing laps to claim the second spot, while Rowe held on to complete the podium. Defending PASS North champion DJ Shaw and six-time series champion Johnny Clark completed the top-five.
After the race, the younger Rowe admitted that he gave his dad a little more leeway than he would have given any of the other 29 competitors on the race track.
“If anyone else would have been blocking that bad, I would have moved them out of the way,” Rowe said with a laugh. “He knows what he’s got to do and he knows that I wouldn’t do that to him. That’s why he’s the king and why we’re still chasing him.”
Despite making contact on a number of occasions, it was all smiles for the Rowe family in victory lane after the race. In the end, the two were able to laugh about it and enjoy the moment of racing hard for the race win.
“We were banging into each other,” said Rowe. “On those restarts, he wasn’t given me much and I didn’t give him a lot. But we wouldn’t ever take each other out. It’s just awesome to be racing with him and having that much fun. It was a lot, a lot of fun racing with him.”
The win for Mike Rowe is his second of the season with his new Petit Motorsports team. At the beginning of the season, the veteran racer from Turner, Maine wasn’t exactly sure of how strong the team would be. Needless to say, after two races, he’s quite pleased with his move to a new team.
“I knew we had a great team right off from Oxford,” he said. “The crew did a hell of a job for me today. It takes more than the driver and right now we’re hitting on all cylinders.”
Although Rowe gives a lot of credit to his crew, there’s no doubting the level of talent behind the wheel of the No. 7 PASS North Super Late Model. After an exciting battle on Saturday night, his son was the first to give credit to the “old man.”
“He is the toughest son of a gun ever to race with. He gets everything out of a race car. He’s the best and that’s why.”
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
PASS North 150 Unofficial Results
Star Speedway (NH) – Saturday, May 9
|22||27nh||Wayne Helliwell, Jr.||98|
|24||97nh||Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.||53|
|25||03||Joe Squelia, Jr.||33|