Amidst the short and chaotic 2020 racing season, Ben Rowe and Richard Moody & Sons Racing embarked on an experiment in addition to their usual Pro All Stars Super Late Model effort. Buying and racing an ACT-type Late Model on the American-Canadian Tour itself in select events.
Races at White Mountain Motorsports Park and New Hampshire Motor Speedway did not wield promising results, but at their Maine home track Oxford Plains Speedway, things were looking up. A runner-up run in ACT race the Night Before the Oxford 250 got everyone’s attention; then a win in the ACT season finale at Oxford cemented Rowe and the No. 4ME effort as ones to watch, should they compete in 2021.
Flash-forward 12 months, Rowe is the ACT point leader with one race to go, despite not returning to victory lane in the 11 races run so far in 2021. However, he has a familiar foe just one point behind him going into this Saturday’s Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway. Fellow multi-time PASS champion and second-generation driver D.J. Shaw; with both drivers each trying to become the first driver in history to have both PASS and ACT titles on their resume.
While Rowe would like to win not only the ACT, but also the PASS Haunted Hundred feature this weekend, his focus and goal is clear.
“We just look at it like it’s another race, but we got to go down there with our A-game to outrun D.J. That’s what our agenda is,” Rowe told Speed51.
Despite the tough fight that lies ahead, Rowe is thankful to be in the shot for a title that he would not have envisioned even as soon as last year. Especially given that Richard Moody & Sons Racing is preparing both Rowe’s ACT and PASS cars, while Shaw is driving for two separate teams.
"Not really, we only did a few races a year, then we didn’t do any for a time. Then it all just lined up the past year or two with PASS and ACT getting together for all these different races and not overlapping schedules, so we could actually do both of them. It’s a huge amount of work, we do both with the same team and same guys. When you got two races the same day, that’s a lot of work. To be in this position is really cool."
Being based on the other end of New England from Seekonk, Rowe’s experience at the Massachusetts 1/3-mile bullring is limited. But, he has the confidence to perform, despite recent troubles on the PASS side.
“I’ve won there before, I’ve run well. Just whatever reason this year I haven’t run very good. But, I’ve won there in a PASS car. If we can get both cars to my liking, I think we’ll be all right.”
Even with the extra attention towards the ACT title, Rowe and the No. 4 camp are still pouring plenty into their PASS effort. In 2021, Rowe’s best finish ironically is fourth on four separate occasions. If he can qualify well and avoid trouble the four-time PASS North and five-time PASS National champion believes he can end the year on a surprise once again.
“I think we’ll be good, we’ve been gaining on it a lot everywhere, except for Oxford. We’re making gains in the right direction, so I think we’ll be good, we’re real prepared with all the racing the past couple of weeks. We’re going down on Friday to do some testing, we’ll just take it how it is, and see what shoots at us.”
With the commitment to test on Friday afternoon, Rowe feels they can continue the gains with their ACT Late Model. Over the year, the No. 4ME has finished on podium four times, with ten Top 10’s and lowest finish of 11th. But, to beat Shaw in the final showdown may require winning the whole race itself. Champion or not, Rowe is proud of the effort that has been put forth.
“To win a championship, you have to be good all year long, it’s not just one race. There’s been a lot that has gone behind it, a lot of people that’s involved with it. There’s a lot that can go right or go wrong. We’ve had a good car most of the year, but D.J. runs exceptionally well at Seekonk, I’m sure they’re doing their homework as usual. They’ve had the best car all year long, it seems like we’ve been chasing them all year. We just need to match them and see what comes out.”
The Haunted Hundred at Seekonk Speedway this Saturday, October 23 will feature 100-lap season ending events for the American-Canadian Tour Late Models, Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models, and Tri-Track Open Modified Series. Post time is 1pm ET and will be live on Speed51.TV.
-Story by: Connor Sullivan, Speed51 Northeast Correspondent – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo credit: Speed51