At the age of 64 years old, many have asked when Maine racing legend Mike Rowe may call it quits and hang up the fire suit. On Sunday afternoon at Oxford Plains Speedway (ME), Rowe answered those questions with his performance on the track and showed the great crowd in attendance that he has no plans to call it quits anytime soon.
The Turner, Maine native took the lead on lap 56 of the 150-lap season-opening event for the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) North and held off defending series champion D.J. Shaw on two late race restarts to claim his 19th career PASS North win.
“DJ was right on me and I’m sure if he would have got by me that I wouldn’t have got him back,” Rowe told Speed51.com powered by JEGS on Periscope. “It’s just awesome to come out here and get the first one.”
Shaw started Sunday’s race from the sixth spot and carefully made his way to the front to challenge Rowe late. The two made slight contact battling for the top spot on a few occasions, but were able to keep it straight as they battled to the checkered flag.
“We weren’t good enough on short runs there,” said Shaw after the race. “I think I had the better car but catching Mike is different than passing him. He earned it today. I’m happy with a second-place finish the way the weekend has gone. We struggled all through practice and put a lot of new stuff into this car. I’m happy with that.”
Tony Ricci scored his career-best PASS North finish after surviving a crazy battle to secure the final podium spot. Former Beech Ridge Motor Speedway (ME) champion David Oliver finished fourth, while Garrett Hall, in just his second PASS North start, rounded out the top-five.
For Rowe, the win is another notch on his impressive resume racing in the Pine Tree State of Maine. His win on Sunday was the 151st of his career at the historic 3/8-mile Oxford, Maine oval.
“They’re getting harder, though,” said Rowe. “I mean, the competition is so good.”
Rowe’s win on Sunday is his first win with new team Petit Motorsports driving the No. 7 entry. He previously drove the car in March during the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) and finished third.
After two strong runs with the team, Rowe is confident and excited for the remainder of the 2015 campaign.
“It was the crew that did it,” said Rowe. “They got the car ready for me and it takes more than a driver to win races and I owe it all to them guys. They worked their butts off. Friday they weren’t quite ready, but they didn’t get nervous. They worked on the car and I came up here to help my grandson and didn’t worry. We had two practices and I tell ya, they did an awesome job.”
While the driver is quick to give the credit to his crew, a lot of credit needs to go the driver as well after his performance on Sunday. Racing against many drivers half his age, the veteran driver displayed toughness and the know-how to get it done on late race restarts. He knows his age will be talked about a lot, but he also knows that age is just a number.
“I think the older I get, the better I get,” Rowe joked after the race. To which one of his Petit Motorsports crew members replied, “You only have 20 years left.”
(Editor’s Note: For post-race coverage of the event, download the Periscope app on your mobile device and follow @speed51dotcom)
-By Brandon Paul, Speed51.com Editor – Twitter: @Brandon_Paul51
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Pro All Stars Series North 150 Unofficial Results
Oxford Plains Speedway – Oxford, Maine
April 19, 2015
|22||23||Dave Farrington, Jr.||149|
|31||97||Joey Polewarczyk, Jr.||147|