This past Saturday night, one of Maine’s greatest racecar drivers of all-time took the green flag for the first time in 2022. Fans in attendance at Oxford Plains Speedway were on the edge of their seats as Mike Rowe made his way through the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Model field over the 150-lap event. Despite cutting a right-front tire, it was still a performance that left fans talking.
Saturday’s race is also the last PASS race before the 49th Oxford 250 on the weekend of August 26 – 28, and while the No. 24 will still be entered, it will not be with Mike Rowe driving. The three-time Oxford 250 has battled health issues for a number of months, and has decided to turn over the wheel for the rigorous few days.
Monday morning the decision was made. The driving duties will now fall to a two-time Oxford 250 winner, son Ben Rowe, who has been searching for a 250 ride since parting ways with Richard Moody Racing a few weeks ago.
“It was all based on if my dad was good to go, then he was going to run it while I went a different route. He ran Saturday night and he felt okay, made the whole race, ran great. But we just don’t know if he’d be well enough to stand the three or four days of grind for the 250, it takes a lot out of you. So we decided yesterday afternoon and this morning to put my seat in it then give it a go. I’m looking forward to it,” Ben Rowe told Racing America.
While Saturday was Mike Rowe’s first time in the car this year, the car has seen plenty of action with Ben’s nephew Max Rowe in weekly Saturday night Oxford Championship Series competition. ‘Benjie’ feels like the bar has been set high for him heading into the 250.
“He started 17th and drove all the way to 6th, then blew a right front tire. But, he was real good and the car was real good. My nephew has been running it weekly up there and they’ve been working on it pretty hard. So my father jumped in, tested it, and raced it; his first time in the car in a year. Once we get my seat in it we’ll do some testing, get a good bunch of guys, have some fun, and see where we end up.
“It’s a couple years old, it’s one that Mike Lux bought, him and my dad are co-owners with it. It’s a Jeff Taylor car, Distance Racing. A good car, it runs well. Looking forward to seeing what we can do with it.”
Ben feels that there is a chance of him joining his father, Dave Dion, Ralph Nason and Travis Benjamin in the 250 three-time winner’s club. But, it will also be tougher than ever given how competition within the over 60 teams entered has become.
“Everyone is so close, it was when I was watching Saturday night. It makes it hard to pass, a lot of cars are within a tenth of a second of each other. We got a chance, but it’s going to be tough. If I can be just as good as he was on Saturday and Max has been with it, we’ll be alright. The car has it in it to run up front, so if we put everything together, and make some finetune adjustments we can be up there. But, there’s probably about 35 guys that can win.”