Easter Miracle For Ben Rowe at Hickory

HICKORY, N.C. — In his own words, it was a miraculous performance from Ben Rowe at Hickory Motor Speedway over the weekend.

“It was a long, long night,” Rowe said after finishing eighth in the PASS Easter Bunny 150 on Saturday. “To come home where we did, it was a miracle. It really was.”

Rowe battled lost brakes, a flat tire and damaged to the race car all night to charge from 28th starting position in the 32-car field and end up in the top-10 by the time the checkered flag fell in his No. 48 Community Pharmacies Chevrolet.

Rowe, the 2009 Easter Bunny 150 winner, knew that his team would be in for a battle even before qualifying began for the second event in the five-race 2010 PASS National Series.

“We time trialed horrible and had to take a provisional,” Rowe said. “But we knew that would probably happen. We were just running a little crate engine.

“So we started at the back, and I think we were in every accident there was. We kept pitting and pitting, trying to make it better, and once we got all the way back up (to the front) but had a flat tire.

“It’s just hard to come from the back with that crate engine there, because you get bogged down behind people and get stuck for a couple of laps.”

Getting stuck behind other cars — both at speed and when they were spinning — was a problem.

“It’s just that kind of place,” Rowe said. “Everybody was side by side all night, two by two. When a couple of leaders get tangled up, everybody just piles into them.

“Just to finish — Johnny (Clark) and a lot of other good cars wrecked early or whatever — so really just to finish was a good deal.”

Rowe did say that the race served a purpose for the team, though, as he continued to build the working relationship with team owner Scott Mulkern.

The Turner, Maine, driver signed with Mulkern Racing this offseason. Hickory marked just his second race with the team, which will open the PASS North Series season at Speedway 95 in Hermon, Maine, on April 18. They finished 14th in the Winterfest 150 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway in January.

“It was good for me and Scott to be together, to get on the same page about what I need,” Rowe said. “When I say we need a ‘lot,’ he doesn’t always know how much a ‘lot’ is to me and vice versa. Any chance to get on the same page and get talking is good for us.”