NAPLES, ME (August 5) – When you mention the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) to any race fan across North America, there’s a good chance that Ben Rowe is the first driver’s name that comes to mind. As the PASS North Super Late Model division’s “Ironman”, Ben Rowe has started every race since the series started in 2001, the only driver to do so. Along the way, Rowe has won 4 PASS North series titles, the 2009 PASS National and PASS South championships, and has won more PASS Super Late Model races than any other driver, nearly 50 when combining both PASS North and South wins.
Rowe, like most every other driver from across the nation, holds the HP Hood Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in high regard. As a kid, he watched his dad, Mike, go to victory lane in the 1984 running of the 250 and competed against him in Mike’s wins in 1997 and 2005.
“The Oxford 250, as it was then known, was the biggest race of the year in the Northeast hands down,” said Rowe. “Everybody from down South or out West, when you mentioned that race, they had heard of it. And whether it was the money or the prestige or whatever, everybody wanted to win the 250. To start with, a lot of Southerners came down and had won it and then my dad was the first driver from Maine to win it, so it’s always been special for our family.”
It was those lessons learned from his dad that helped Ben go to victory lane in the HP Hood Oxford 250 in 2003 and 2004, joining Geoff Bodine, Ralph Nason, and later Eddie MacDonald and Travis Benjamin, as the only back-to-back winners of the 250 (Note: Nason won three straight HP Hood Oxford 250s from 1998-2000). Despite his wins coming just a year apart, each race holds a special place in Ben’s heart for different reasons.
“It was something for me to watch my dad try to win the 250 for all those years and finally get it, and then to win it myself meant everything for me because I really knew how hard it was to win,” said Rowe. “The second year I won it in 2004, I had to pass Matt Kenseth with just a few laps left to go to win it and that made it pretty special for me.”
Ben Rowe has seen a few things change over the years in the HP Hood Oxford 250, especially the cars competing in the race. From the Busch North cars his father raced there to Pro Stocks, now known as Super Late Models, to the slower, heavier Late Models that raced in the 250 from 2007 to 2012.
This season has already been eventful for Ben Rowe and has him excited about his chances for another 250 win. Rowe assured himself a starting sport for this year’s race by winning his third Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. And he followed that up with a win in the first PASS North Super Late Model race of the year at Oxford Plains Speedway after a thrilling three-wide duel with fellow series champions, Johnny Clark and DJ Shaw.
For both Ben and Mike Rowe, it’s been a long journey from Turner, ME to the pinnacle of short track racing. But one thing is for sure, as long there is a HP Hood Oxford 250, it’s a safe bet the Rowes will be there up near the front. And there’s nothing Ben Rowe would love to do more than join his father as a 3-time winner of the 250.
The PASS Super Late Models will not be alone in making the 43rd Annual HP Hood Oxford 250 a celebration of short track racing. A great slate of divisions is set to race starting on Friday, August 26 with the Street Stocks, Outlaws, Rebels, Trucks, Cruisers, Bandits, Legends, and Ladies, plus PASS Super Late Model practice. The PASS Super Late Models be on the track on Saturday, August 27 for practice in the morning, followed by racing in the evening for the ACT Late Models, Valenti Modifieds, PASS Modifieds, Classic Lites, Legends, Mini Stocks, Wicked Good, and Street Stocks. On Sunday, August 28, gates will open bright and early at 7 AM with a full day of on track activities including practice and heat race action for the PASS Super Late Models, followed by features for the PASS Modifieds, Street Stocks, North East Mini Stock Tour, Legends, Rebels, and finally the 43rd Annual HP Hood Oxford 250 to begin at approximately 5:30 PM.
Entry forms for the 43rd Annual HP Hood Oxford 250 can be found at ProAllStarsSeries.com and OxfordPlains.com.
The Pro All Stars Series is recognized as North America’s premier sanctioning body for asphalt Super Late Models and boasts such marquee events as the Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway and the legendary HP Hood Oxford 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway. For media or marketing questions, please contact Alan Dietz at 704-231-2039 or [email protected] Please visit ProAllStarsSeries.com for more information and don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @PASSSLM14 to keep up with breaking news as it happens.
-Pro All Stars Series Press Release. Photo credit: Speed51.com