at Oxford: Mike Rowe Wins the Battle; Ben Rowe Wins the War
Oxford, ME - The Pro All Stars Series (PASS) held its
final points race of the 2002 season at Oxford Plains Speedway Sunday and Mike Rowe of
Turner Maine won the rain-shortened P & K Sand and Gravel/Western Maine Concrete
Contactors 150 to claim the $4,000 first prize. Rowe, a multi-time Oxford track champion,
inherited the lead when Gary Drew suffered ignition failure just four laps before rain
ended the event at lap 121. It was Rowe's 149th Oxford Plains Speedway victory and his
first Pro All Stars Series win. Rowe shared the victory lane spotlight with his son Ben
Rowe who earned the 2002 PASS Championship title.
Sunoco Race Fuels time trials were not held for the first time this season as a brief rain
shower soaked the track just as the cars were rolling onto the track. PASS officials opted
for all fifty-two competitors to run a heat race with starting positions coming from a
luck-of-the-draw system that Oxford fans have enjoyed for many seasons. Sam Sessions
claimed the first True Value heat race to earn the number one spot for the 150.Chuck
LaChance, Joe Bessey, Jerry Babb, and Gary Drew claimed heats two through five. The
consolation rounds saw Doug Averill and Kevin Kimball earn victories. As a testament to
the level of competition, PASS point leader Ben Rowe and eight-time (and current) Oxford
Plains Champion Jeff Taylor were forced to take provisional starting spots. Russ Hersey
also earned a PASS provisional.
In very similar circumstances to the opening PASS race of the year at Oxford, Sam Sessions
took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Gary Drew working his way to second after
an early caution flag. As happened in the April race, Drew was able to make a move around
Sessions in lapped traffic at lap 33 and was seemingly untouchable the rest of the way.
"I couldn't run with him (Drew)," said Mike Rowe after the race. "I was
saving the tires a bit. The car starting vibrating a bit on the right front so I just
Unfortunately for Drew it wasn't other competitors he needed to worry about. Leading
comfortably at lap 116 Drew encountered ignition problems and rolled to a stop in turn
one, handing the lead to Mike Rowe. Rowe had taken over second place back on lap 46 by
getting around Sessions and tried to keep race leader Drew in sight. Rowe officially took
the lead on lap 117 while Drew was being towed to the pits. Sessions took over second
place and Travis Khiel continued an impressive late season Pro Stock campaign by sneaking
into third place.
A restart on lap 119 saw Ryan Moore spinning on the front stretch which sent Khiel, Jeff
Burgess, and Ben Rowe back several spots in the running order which was bad timing for
them. The rain returned on lap 121 and the race was given the checkered flag as the track
became completely soaked.
Behind Rowe's Lux Enterprises Chevrolet at the finish were 2001 PASS Champion Sam Sessions
in second, Larry Gelinas third Scott Robbins fourth. 2002 series champion Ben Rowe came
from through the field from thirty-third starting position to earn fifth. Doug Averill
took home the Northern Race Tires Rookie challenge award for his sixth place performance
with Chuck LaChance, Jerry Babb, Russ Hersey and Jeff Burgess completing the top ten.
While the fifteen race PASS points season wrapped up Sunday at Oxford, most PASS teams
will travel south to Thompson Speedway on Saturday October 5th for the inaugural Pro All
Stars sanctioned Octoberfest PASS 200. Billed as an all-star battle between the regions'
top Pro Stock competitors, the Octoberfest 200 is expected to draw competitors from eight
states and four Canadian Provinces.
For more information, visit www.thompsonspeedway.com.