Rowe father-and-son tandem enter TD Banknorth 250

OXFORD, Maine – The famed father-son tandem that has dominated the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway in this decade has added its entries to the record field for the 2007 event. 

Mike and Ben Rowe of Turner, Maine, will attempt to score their family’s sixth victory in the storied short track extravaganza on Sunday, July 22.
Both men have announced their intentions to chase wins and prize money first and points second this season, making the 34th annual Oxford crown jewel a can’t-miss date on their calendars. The TD Banknorth 250 champion will take home a $25,000 share of the purse and up to an additional $25,000 in lap leader bonus money.

“I am looking forward to this year’s TD Banknorth 250,” said Rowe, who is joined by Dave Dion and Ralph Nason as the only three-time winners of New England’s most prestigious short track race. “I would race every weekend if I could.”

Mike’s ride will be a collaborative effort with longtime supporters Jerry Hicks of Ontario and Mike Lux of Arundel, Maine. Ben will be aboard the Richard Moody Racing #4 for the second straight season.

“It’s great to have Mike and Ben Rowe in the TD Banknorth 250. The Rowe family obviously comes to mind when you think of Oxford and think of this race,” said OPS owner Bill Ryan. “You could already look down the list of entries and check off at least 50 or 60 drivers you might think are capable of winning the race, and now you can add two more.”

Two summers ago, the elder Rowe joined Dion as the only drivers to win the TD Banknorth 250 in three different decades. Mike Rowe preceded his 2005 title with victories in 1984 and 1997.

Mike qualified for the inaugural race when it was known as the Oxford 200 in 1974, finishing 36th. He has made the starting grid in 30 of the first 33 summer classics, missing out only in 1975, 1977 and 1987.

Nine of Mike’s 10 top-five finishes in the TD Banknorth 250 have come in the last 15 seasons. He was runner-up to Scott Robbins in 2002, finished third behind Nason in 1998, crossed the stripe fourth in 1992, 2003 and 2004, and rounded out the top five in 1994 and 2000. His career earnings of $186,834 in the race are second on the all-time list, trailing Nason by a mere $2,000.

Aside from his excellence in the big race, Rowe is renowned as the “King of Oxford.” He and Al Hammond are the only two drivers to win at least one feature at the historic oval in five different decades. Rowe also was the first OPS racer to win seven Late Model titles: 1976, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989 and 1990. He owns a record 150 feature victories at his home track.
Mike Rowe’s racing resume includes championships in at least three touring divisions and dozens of wins at other speedways throughout New England and Canada. He plans to compete at tracks from Florida to the Canadian Maritimes this season.

“We are going to try to enter as many of the L-A Harley Davidson Late Model Challenge events as possible,” Rowe said. “That is going to be a great series with a lot of money up for grabs.”

Ben didn’t waste much time proving himself a chip off the old block at OPS, winning a championship in the four-cylinder Compact (now Allen’s Coffee Flavored Brandy Mini Stock) division in 1992 at age 17. Three seasons later, he added a Late Model title.

The next summer, as a TD Banknorth 250 rookie, Ben led the 1996 event with under three laps remaining before a small fuel tank ran dry a mile from the finish. Rowe coasted home to 12th place.

That was the first of 11 straight successful qualifying attempts in the 250. Ben made his family the first father-son winners of the event in 2003, and in 2004 he joined Geoff Bodine and Nason as the only drivers to successfully defend their TD Banknorth 250 championship.

Ben led a dozen laps early in the 2006 race before he was involved in a crash. In addition to his wins, Ben Rowe finished second in 1999 and 2000 and sixth in 2002.

The list of TD Banknorth 250 entries now stands at 165, dwarfing the record of 106 set in 1983. Drivers will draw for starting position in a series of 20-lap heat races, setting the tone for what promises to be the wildest qualifying session in TD Banknorth 250 history.

This year’s TD Banknorth 250 is also part of the L-A Harley Davidson Late Model Challenge, a five-race loop with a sizable point fund. The race rounds out a three-day weekend of competition sponsored by New England Dodge Dealers. Reserved seats for Sunday’s race are available now by calling (207) 539-8865, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Oxford Plains Speedway is a 3/8-mile asphalt oval located on Route 26 in Oxford, Maine. We are located approximately 15 minutes from Lewiston-Auburn and 45 minutes from Portland. With main grandstand seating for 13,000, Oxford Plains Speedway is the largest spectator sports facility in the state.