WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – When it comes to racing in the Pro All Stars Series (PASS), there’s not much Ben Rowe hasn’t done.
He learned his trade while following his legendary dad, Mike Rowe, around the bullrings of New England and Canada and has been with the series since its inception in 2001. Since then, the younger Rowe has gone on to race in every single PASS North race that has ever been contested. He’s won more PASS Super Late Model races than any other driver, more than 40 victories between PASS North and PASS South.
He has taken a total of seven PASS championships – four in PASS North, two PASS National Championships and even a PASS South Championship in 2009. Again, a feat that surpasses all drivers. And, if that isn’t enough, he’s a back-to-back winner of short track racing’s biggest single day event, the TD Bank 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway, with wins in 2003 and 2004.
But, 2012 was very atypical for Rowe. He only managed to finish sixth in the final PASS North standings, his lowest points finish ever. And he only had a single win, albeit one of the series biggest races, the PASS 400 at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway. With a career full of checkered flags and trophies behind him, Rowe and his team knew something had to give heading into the 2013 season.
“Last year didn’t go like we hoped it would, so we’ve brought some new guys in and changed some stuff around from last year,” said Rowe. “We’re definitely excited and looking forward to getting started.”
Rowe and his PASS Super Late Model counterparts do not have to wait long for this year’s PASS National Series to begin. The Winter Meltdown 200 at Florida’s Auburndale Speedway is just around the corner and set to take the green flag on Saturday.
Although new to PASS, Auburndale Speedway shares many similarities to other tracks on the series’ schedule, especially to some of the tough quarter miles Rowe grew up competing on in New England. And, for the driver hailing from frigid Turner, Maine, Florida’s mild Winter isn’t too bad either.
“It’s certainly a lot warmer than the 15 below wind chill we are experiencing here,” said Rowe with a laugh. “I’m excited to go to Auburndale. There will be a lot of tough drivers there, especially the guys from Florida who have raced there before. But I think we’ll get it figured out. I’m just really ready to get racing again.”
Rowe will definitely be one of the favorites heading into the Winter Meltdown at Auburndale Speedway, but he will have his work cut out for him. He’ll have to battle a stout group of PASS competitors including defending PASS National Champion Jay Fogleman and his son Tate, who will split time this year between the PASS South Super Late Models and PASS Pro Late Models.
They’ll be joined by PASS regulars from all over North America including D.J. Shaw, Joey Doiron, Kyle Desousza, Bill Catania, Quebec’s Alexandre Gingas and Jean Francois Dery, plus many, many more.