Calvin Rose Jr. poses in victory lane after winning the Super Late Model feature at Oxford Plains Speedway on July 13. Oriana Lovell photo

Auto racing in the town of Turner revolves around legendary father and son Mike and Ben Rowe.

No one knows that better than Calvin Rose Jr., who has had a seat close to the center of the duo’s success his whole life.

And while part of Rose’s own racing success can be connected to the Rowes, the Turner native has been making a name for himself outside of his neighbors’ shadows.

Rose already has a Street Stock series championship, and 20-30 feature wins in his estimation, but now he’s in his third season driving in Oxford Plains Speedway’s Super Late Model division, and he’s slowly made his way toward the top of the standings.

“I’d say halfway through the first year I was getting the hang of it. The second season was way better, getting my first win,” Rose said. “It’s kind of surprising how well we run (this season). We’re racing an older car on a real slim budget compared to some other teams. The season started off rocky, but we finally hit the setup and have gotten some good finishes, putting us second in points.”

Rose has some catching up to do if he wants to contend with series points leader Curtis Gerry, but he’s also got some distance ahead of multi-time track champion Tim Brackett, who is in third.

“It’s always awesome to be able to run with those guys,” Rose said. “Those two and many other drivers have years and years of experience, so it’s always cool to be able to be competitive with them.”

On Sunday, Rose hopes to be racing alongside the Rowes in the Oxford 250. He said his expectation is to make it in the race that Mike has won three times and Ben twice.

“After that just have some fun and turn some laps,” he said.

GROWING UP WITH THE ROWES

Rose wasn’t even born yet when Mike Rowe won his first 250 in 1984, but the 29-year-old grew up watching both drivers.

“I grew up with my dad helping them out with their racing, so I was always watching them,” Rose said.

“Dad used to crew chief for Ben in mini stocks. They won the championship,” Rose added. “He helped Mike and Benji back in the day in the Busch North days. We were next-door neighbors with them. Ben and my dad owned a modified together, winning a few races and second in points at Wiscasset. Lots of history there.”

The Rowes have been an influential part of Rose’s own racing career, and that extends beyond just the watching and learning Rose did as a kid.

“Mike’s been helpful with letting us borrow parts when we need it. Ben is always willing to chat when I approach him,” Rose said.

Calvin Rose Jr. wheels his Super Late Model car around Oxford Plains Speedway on July 27. Oriana Lovell photo

While Rose’s own racing success hasn’t yet approached what the Rowes have accomplished, he’s hoping to keep getting closer to the front in the 250, to places where Mike and Ben both made their name. He finished 32nd in his first 250 two years ago, then 16th last year.

He said “words can’t describe it, really” of what it was like winning his first Super Late Model race last year. He’s already won another feature this year in Oxford Championship Series action, but winning the 250 would be a dream come true.

And now it’s time to live his own dream, rather than watching other drivers’ dream finishes.


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