Mike Rowe has won more than 145 races at Oxford Plains Speedway and he would like nothing better than to add another one on Sunday when the New England Dodge Dealers Pro All-Stars Series 100 will be held beginning at 1 p.m.
The stock car season begins this weekend with the first action coming on Saturday as Wiscasset Raceway also kicks off its season beginning at 1:30.
The Busch North Series opener, featuring several Maine drivers including Cherryfield’s Andy Santerre, will be held at Lee USA Speedway (N.H.) on Sunday, April 21. The Beech Ridge Motor Speedway season in Scarborough will open the same day; Unity Raceway kicks off its season with the Coca Cola 102-lapper on April 28; Hermon’s Speedway 95 will open its season on May 5 and Winterport Dragway starts on May 12.
“I’ve been sitting around all winter doing nothing. I’m anxious to get going,” said the 51-year-old Rowe, who is beginning his “33rd or 34th” year of racing.
He admitted that he doesn’t get as excited about the season-opening race as he used to “maybe because I’m old and slow now.”
One of his primary rivals will be his son, Ben.
“It’s good to get back in the swing of things,” 26-year old Ben Rowe said.
The Rowes are from Turner and they cut their racing teeth at Oxford Plains Speedway.
“It is definitely my favorite track,” said Mike Rowe. “It was my home track when I was young and I’ve had real good success there. The facilities are great.”
Ben Rowe concurred.
“I’ve always liked it. I always run good there,” he said.
There will be plenty of competition Sunday.
“I think they’re going to get 50 or 60 cars Sunday,” said Mike Rowe. “The sad part is a few of them are going to go home. I hope I’m not one of them.”
The field will probably be limited to no more than 47 cars.
Mike Rowe will be driving a 1999 Chevy Monte Carlo he bought from Dale Shaw a few weeks ago.
Ben Rowe, who finished third in the PASS series a year ago, will also be driving a 1999 Monte Carlo but it is the one he drove a year ago.
“We’re building a brand new one but it isn’t done yet,” said Ben Rowe who spent a lot of the off-season playing with his first child, Chase Elliott Rowe.
Wife Melissa (Burgess) gave birth to Chase Elliott six months ago.
Ben Rowe will be vying for the points title but Mike said he doesn’t intend to run the entire PASS series.
“I’ll be running some Busch series races,” said Mike Rowe.
There will be time trials and heat races and Mike Rowe said it is important to qualify in the top 10 at Oxford Plains.
“By running up front, you can stay out of trouble. It you’re running in the middle or in the back, it could be a long day,” said Mike Rowe.
Mike Rowe said he expects drivers like Jeff Taylor, Gary Drew and Scott Robbins to be among the favorites along with son Ben Rowe.
Ben Rowe added Andy Shaw, Sam Sessions and Louis Mechalides to that list.
South Paris’ Sessions won the PASS points championship a year ago and Tyngsboro, Mass., native Mechalides was second.
Following Ben Rowe in the points were fourth-place Larry Gelinas of Scarborough and fifth-place Gary Smith of Bangor.