Ben Rowe Rules Beech Ridge
SCARBOROUGH, Maine – Ben Rowe took advantage of a lap 281 restart to wrestle the lead away from Joey Doiron and win the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) 300 presented by Southern Maine Motors.com at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway Sunday.
The victory was Rowe’s first of 2012 and his second in PASS North’s richest extra distance event. Doiron hung tough in second and Travis Benjamin finished third. Series point leader Cassius Clark raced under the checkers fourth and Trevor Sanborn returned to the track with a solid fifth.
Rowe was solid all weekend, winning his Saturday qualifier to start on the pole alongside Jay Fogleman. That pair ran one-two for the first 75 laps except for laps 29-32 when Fogleman got the best of Rowe on a restart. Rowe flexed his muscles on lap 33 and led until lap 95 when Cassius Clark took a turn at the point.
Kelly Moore was having a great run and he got the best of Clark on a lap 101 restart and stayed out front through the half way mark with Benjamin up to second, Rowe third, Fogleman fourth and Clark now fifth.
Rowe claimed second just before a lap 158 caution that sent many of the front runners to the pits for tires and adjustments. Lonnie Sommerville was quickest out of the pits, rejoining the field in tenth. Meanwhile Rowe was back in control with Moore second.
The next caution ended strong the strong runs of Moore , DJ Shaw, Tony Ricci and Brad Babb. The lap 162 backstretch melee involved ten cars and ended the day for Moore,Babb, Ricci and Mike Rowe. Shaw returned briefly, finishing 20th and loosing substantial ground in the PASS North points battle.
Both Benjamin and Cassius Clark took turns at the front as the field approached the 200 lap mark. Rowe and Benjamin took on tires when the caution flew on lap 184 and Rowe beat Trevor Sanborn, Scott Mulkern and Benjamin back to the battle.
It was Sommerville and Cassius Clark leading the field to green and the preferred outside starting spot got Clark the lead, but a quick caution turned the tables and Sommerville regained control. Rowe had the freshest rubber and he was quickly moving to the front, taking the lead from Sommerville on lap 228.
Joey Doiron had a tough time on qualifying day and the spring Beech Ridge winner started the 300 26th. It was clear early on that Doiron had one of the fastest race cars on the speedway as he clawed his way up from the back of the pack. With 50 laps to go he was on the charge, second to Rowe and ready to pounce when his opportunity came.
A lap 257 restart proved to be that opportunity and he took full advantage, taking the lead and looking like he might drive away from the field as Rowe and Benjamin battled for second.
But the yellow flag flew one final time and Rowe had that premium outside starting spot for the restart. Rowe reclaimed the lead he had held much of the day, crossing the stripe .322 seconds ahead of Doiron.
Thirteen of the thirty two starters completed all 300 green flag laps. Eleven caution flags slowed the race pace.