Northern Points: Ben Rowe and Mickey Green ready to tackle Pro All Stars Series opener at Thompson

RaceDayCT Northbound New 550 Clean

Typically, it’s hard to categorize “momentum” heading into a season opener, but if anyone in the Pro All Stars Series has it right now, it’s Ben Rowe.

With two PASS National Series events already in the books for 2016, Rowe heads into the PASS North season opener this Sunday at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park riding the momentum of a win at Hickory Motor Speedway in March. The Turner, Maine, driver sits just two points out of the National Series championship lead and — with a new crew chief and a very familiar new teammate in the Richard Moody Racing stable — Rowe could finally be poised to return to his seat as one of PASS North’s best.

But, first-year crew chief Mickey Green warns, there’s a lot of racing left between now and the season finale in mid-October.

“Obviously, (the championship) is the long-term goal,” said Green, of South Paris, Maine. “Right now, my goal is to get Ben Rowe to run competitively in the top five every week, where Ben Rowe should be running every week. That’s what I want to do.

“Ben Rowe didn’t forget how to drive or how to win races. If I do my job, if the crew does their job, there shouldn’t be any problems, but we’ve got to take it one race at a time.”

Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine, won the PASS Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in March./Photo courtesy of Crazy Horse Racing

Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine, won the PASS Easter Bunny 150 at Hickory Motor Speedway in March./Photo courtesy of Crazy Horse Racing

Curiously, though, Rowe’s last five seasons have been difficult, to say the least. The 40-year-old driver is a four-time series champion with 39 career PASS North wins, yet he has just three wins since the end of the 2010 season. After going winless in both 2013 and 2014 (a span of 26 starts for a driver with a career winning percentage of nearly 19 percent), Rowe finally cracked victory lane last May at Autodrome Chaudiere, a banked quarter-mile in Quebec.

More indicative of his struggles have been his results at Oxford Plains Speedway and Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, flat tracks where PASS not only runs nearly a third of its schedule but also where Rowe made his name over more than a decade of dominance that included a pair of Oxford 250 wins. Last season alone, Rowe finished 17th or worse in six of the seven races contested on those two tracks — including a 40th place finish in the Oxford 250 — with a best finish of 10th.

Green came on board late last fall, and over the winter the team added a second car for Ben’s father and reigning PASS North champion Mike Rowe. They had solid runs at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina and at Hickory. But Green, who served as crew chief for Austin Theriault’s ACT Late Model Tour efforts from 2010-2012, believes that while the team is prepared for Thompson this weekend, the true test won’t come until next weekend at Oxford.

“(Winning at Hickory) definitely goes a long way in getting everybody’s morale up, but the true test for us is going to be what we can do at Oxford and Beech Ridge. They’ve really struggled with the flat track program the last couple of years. I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do there. Ben Rowe at Oxford — he should run up front. That’s just how it is.”

Rowe’s car has spent the winter at Crazy Horse Racing, the chassis builder owned and operated by Green’s parents. There was no major rebuild, Green said, though he did work on some of the geometries in order to get the car more in line with what he likes on his house car — a car piloted by Dennis Spencer Jr. in weekly competition at Oxford Plains.

“I think the biggest thing was the team needed a home,” Green said. “They’d spent time working out of Mike (Rowe’s) shop, a shop down south, here and there. They had guys who had been forever put into the role of trying to do everything — and they didn’t really want that. Now they’ve got a home and they’ve got some direction, and I think that’s only going to help.”

HOME TURF: It’s been nearly four years since PASS was at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, but Derek Ramstrom still has to feel like he’s got a home track advantage.

The former Pro Stock champion at Thompson, from nearby West Boylston, Massachusetts, has two career PASS wins at Thompson, including the last time PASS was at the .625-mile oval in 2012. Ramstrom won that 75-lap sprint, featuring a 17-car starting field which was whittled down to 11 cars by the time the checkered flag flew, by more than two full seconds.

Ramstrom heads into this weekend as the PASS National Series points leader, with two top fives in two races.

Sunday’s Icebreaker 75 marks the first time PASS has opened a season at a southern New England track. Lee USA Speedway, Oxford Plains Speedway, Wiscasset Speedway, White Mountain Motorsports Park, Beech Ridge Motor Speedway and Speedway 95 have all hosted season openers previously for the series.

For a six-year stretch beginning in 2010, PASS opened its season every year at either Oxford or Beech Ridge.

NASCAR MAINE: Two drivers from Maine have NASCAR K&N Pro Series East rides for the 2016 season.

Austin Theriault, a Fort Kent native who drove for Brad Keselowski Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series last year, has joined Hattori Racing Enterprises. He has one top five finish through the first three races of the season.

“We have our sights on running well and challenging for the K & N East championship this season,” said Theriault, whose Truck Series season was cut short following a vicious crash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last fall.  said. “I knew I wanted to focus on a full-time team effort and learn as much as I can for my long-term race development.”

Reid Lanpher, of Manchester, Maine, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion at Beech Ridge, will compete part-time for car owner Ted Marsh. Lanpher is expected to run the series races at Bristol, Iowa, New Hampshire, Watkins Glen and Dover.

“The experience is probably the biggest thing for me,” said Lanpher, a former JR Motorsports Late Model driver. “The last three years have really prepared me for this, so I’m ready for it.”

SECOND ACT: The scheduled ACT Late Model Tour opener at Lee USA Speedway has been postponed.

The New Hampshire Governor’s Cup 150, originally slated for Sunday, has been postponed until April 24. The promise of continued cold, dreary early spring weather prompted series officials to make the move.

The ACT season opener now becomes a 150-lap event at Oxford Plains Speedway on April 17. The race is part of a doubleheader with PASS that afternoon.


  1. Thanks for the news about the northern racers. The mods are my first love, but there’s a lot of talent in PASS, and they can put on a great show. Glad to see local guy Derek Ramstrom doing well.

Leave a Reply

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing