Maine Racing Legend Mike Rowe Wins Inaugural PASS South Easter Bunny 150
CHARLOTTE NC (March 6, 2008) The birth of the Pro All Stars Series (PASS) South Super Late Model division came about in a very unconventional way. While the PASS North Super Late Models were enjoying success, Super Late Model racing in the Carolinas was all but dead. Only three tracks were running the division full-time and Concord Motorsport Park was struggling to revitalize the Big 10 Series. Through a series of chance conversations, PASS President Tom Mayberry decided to give it a go in January of 2006 and created PASS South. With only a few weeks before the first series race at Hickory Motor Speedway, the odds were against everybody involved.
On a warm spring day in North Carolina, 33 Super Late Models from across the country came together and people began to take notice that Super Late Model racing still had a pulse. Fans were treated to qualifying and heat races for all the competitors. In the Dash to determine the top eight starting positions, Maine’s Mike Rowe and Florida’s Travis Kittleson raced wheel-to-wheel and banged fenders on occasion with Rowe coming out on top.
“Mike Rowe is a tough racer,” said Kittleson. “He didn’t do anything I wouldn’t have done. The thing that I like about him is that after that happened and after watching him, I know I can race hard with him.”
When the green flag dropped on the Inaugural Easter Bunny 150, Rowe jumped out into the lead ahead of Kittleson. Kittleson would run strong, but eventually fell out with mechanical problems. Rowe’s first major challenger came from a foe he knew well from Maine, Cassius Clark. Clark took the lead and quickly established himself as the car to beat. Just as quickly, though, he was out of the race due to mechanical problems.
“The car was flying. It was hooked up,” said Clark afterward. “I started to feel a vibration, and then the left rear axle came apart and killed our night.”
Throughout the field drivers were battling each other hard, while trying to learn one another at the same time. Add that to the fact, many drivers in the field had never been in races that incorporated double-file restarts and only counted green flag laps. After Clark’s departure, Georgia’s Jason Hogan and Maine’s Scott Mulkern were waging a war for the lead. Back and forth the two went until contact on the front straightaway. The result: Hogan hard into the wall, while Mulkern would go on to finish fourth.
“It was a little too early to be racing that hard,” said Hogan. “I’m not saying that I’m upset…but you try not to right-rear somebody because that has the potential to really hurt them.”
“I just fell horrible for Jason,” said Mulkern of the incident. “He didn’t know I was there and he came over. I just couldn’t slow up enough. He came over and that turned him into the wall.”
In the end, the race came down to a battle between Rowe and CRA standout Chuck Barnes. Barnes took the lead from Rowe late only to have Rowe come back on the final restart and retake the lead. Rowe held on to etch his name in the record books as the first ever PASS South winner.
“To beat Jason Hogan, Travis Kittleson…I know that he had some bad luck, but he was fast…Freddie Query and guys like them. To be in the class of guys like that is just awesome,” said Rowe of his win.
“I am really impressed with PASS,” said Barnes. “I had fun, the tech is fair and everybody is really nice. I think that will go real far for them.”
Following Rowe and Barnes to the checkered flag were Clay Rogers, Mulkern, and Ryan Lawler in his first ever Super Late Model start.
Fittingly, Rowe would go on to become the first PASS South Series champion. In 2008, again starting at Hickory, Rowe and many more hope to become the first PASS National Champion. The 3rd Annual Easter Bunny 150 comes up on March 22nd at Hickory Motor Speedway.