July 10, 2005) A rain date race often is never as good as the promise of the original
date, but the IBG-PASS Budweiser 150 at Unity Raceway, Unity, ME tonight was the exception
that makes the rule.
A full field of 26 PASS Super Late Model/Pro Stocks took the green with Mike Rowes
Pullen Heavy Industries #24 and local star Randy Turners #1 of Freedom, ME with his
two barrel on the front row. Mike jumped out to the lead with Turner settling in behind,
but Jeff Burgess, another local from Fairfield, ME, followed Mike around the outside. For
the first nine laps, Burgess hung on the outside of Rowe, but after a restart for a spin
by Matt Eaton, who climbed the dirt bank in turn one in his heat race but made it back for
the feature, Burgess began to fall back and Cassius Clark in the E. J. Prescott #8 took
second on lap 16.
On lap 25, Johnny Clark in the #54 took second from Cassius, and the field settled into a
long green run. At the fifty lap mark, it was Rowe, Johnny Clark, Cassius Clark, Turner,
Donnie Whitten in the Richard Moody & Sons #83, Ralph Nason the Hight Chevrolet #77,
Travis Benjamin in the Associated Grocers of ME #17, Burgess, and Corey Williams in the
Midnight Oil #47.
At the halfway mark, the pace was still furious with Nason and Whitten swapping spots as
the only change in the lead pack after 75 laps. After a series of quick yellows for spins
and debris, Big John Phippens #59 ended up in the dirt bank in turn one on lap 87.
But unlike at the Unity 250 a few weeks ago, he kept it upright this time. On the restart,
Randy Turner moved to the outside and challenged Rowe for the lead, but fell back after
several laps to battle with the #54 for second.
On lap 105, the #03x of Gary Norris, Jr of W.Gardiner, ME caught the lip on the
frontstretch and took a barrel roll tumble right under Jerry Major in the flag stand. Gary
climbed out of the car and walked away. On the restart it was Mike Rowe still holding the
point with Johnny Clark on the outside followed by Cassius and Ralph. Going into turn
three, Ralph saw his opportunity as Mike and Johnny ran high down the backstretch, and
Ralph dove under Mike, sliced in front of Cassius and took the lead much to the delight of
many in the grandstands of Ralphs home Track, i.e., hes the owner
of Unity Raceway. But, three laps later Rowe took the lead back and Ralph settled into
second, followed by Cassius, Johnny, Turner, and Whitten.
After a spin by the #09 of Matt Lee of Albion, ME on lap 126, a false start as the cagey
veterans Rowe and Nason jockeyed for an advantage brought the yellow out again and words
from the tower. The second time it was Nason who took the lead from the outside. But
another yellow on lap 131 for a stalled #75 of Gary Smith gave Mike a chance to take the
lead back, and he jumped to the front.
On lap 133, the points leader Ben Rowe in the #00 and the #54 of Johnny Clark
tangled in turn three while fighting for fourth with both cars headed for the pits. Johnny
made it back out quickly and didnt lose a lap, but the #00 sustained major damage to
the right front suspension and was through for the night. In addition, Ben had a heavily
bandaged thumb after the race, which he said happened when the steering wheel snapped
around in the wreck with Johnny.
On the restart, Mike and Ralph continued one and two with Ralph letting Mike know he was
there. Cassius was third, followed by Whitten, Turner and a fast moving Travis Benjamin
coming on the outside. Over the last ten laps, Mike held off Ralph, with Benjamin going by
Whitten and challenging Cassius for third, and Johnny Clark charging from the back after
At the line, it was Mike Rowe for his second win of 2005, Nason, and Cassius Clark holding
off Benjamin by three fee for third, Johnny Clark, Turner, Whitten, Richie Dearborn, Chuck
Lachance, and Scott Moore of Anson, ME in the #03 for his first PASS top ten.
Ben Rowes 20th-place finish will tighten up the points race, especially after
Johnny Clark, who is currently second, was able to come back and salvage a fifth-place
finish. And, we dont know the severity of the damage to Bens thumb and what
impact it will have on next Saturday nights DJ Equipment 150 at White Mountain
Motorsports Park in N. Woodstock, NH.