One of Connecticut’s greatest young talents behind the wheel of a Modified, 16-year-old Chase Dowling, is ready to take the next step in his racing career. Just over three months after becoming the youngest winner ever in Stafford Motor Speedway’s SK Modified division, Dowling is set to make his Valenti Modified Racing Series debut this upcoming weekend at Waterford Speedbowl (CT) in the No. 2x owned by Bobby Judkins Jr.
“The opportunity Bobby has given me is amazing,” said Dowling, who is aiming for success this weekend. “I personally think we can get a top ten out of the car and that would be more than awesome.”
Dowling said this is a deal that has been in the works since the start of this season, but he said he was hesitant to initially say yes.
“I just heard it was an older car and newer team and didn’t know too much,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “Later in the year he kept calling my dad and me and just said he wanted a chance to try things out. We ended up saying yes so we gave it a shot. I’m really happy how it all came along.”
This will be the first time Dowling ever sits in a Tour-Type Modified for a race. He’s tested this car once before and he said that he was pleased with how the test went.
“There’s more power, so I just had to adjust to it,” he said. “I’ve raced in a ton of different cars and I’ve been pretty decent at acclimating to each car.”
Dowling began his racing career, like a number of short track racers, in a Legends car. In 2012, Dowling won the Summer Shootout at Charlotte Motor Speedway (NC) racing for Tim Ladyga and Ladyga Motorsports, the same team that helped launch the Legends Car success for southern short track racing star Daniel Hemric.
For the 2013 season, Dowling and his family-owned team built an SK Light Modified to compete with at Stafford Motor Speedway.
Over the course of the 2013 season, Dowling won seven features, captured Rookie of the Year honors, and finished second in the overall point standings. After seeing success in the SK Lights, Dowling made the jump to the tracks’ premier division, the SK Modifieds in 2014.
Dowling said this weekend’s race at Waterford won’t be his only MRS start of the season. He said the team plans to run at Lee USA Speedway (NH) and then hopefully maybe even go full-time on the MRS circuit in 2015.
“Nothing is really official yet,” said Dowling. “It depends on a little bit of money and what Bobby wants to do personally, but right now we are just going to have fun for the rest of the year and get top ten finishes hopefully.”
In addition to becoming the youngest winner in SK Modified history at the Stafford Springs, Connecticut oval, Dowling also claimed 2014 Rookie of the Year honors in what is considered to be one of the toughest short track divisions in the country.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet,” Dowling said when asked about all he accomplished this season. “Just thinking about it now it’s crazy to think I beat the record at 16 years old. It’s going to be pretty hard to beat.”
Dowling finished fifth in the standings only behind Modified legend Ted Christopher, NASCAR Next driver Ryan Preece, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner Woody Pitkat, and 2010 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Keith Rocco.
“I’m just a really lucky kid to have the sponsors behind me and everybody that gives me an opportunity to race.”
-By Rob Blount, Speed51.com Regional Editor (Long Island, CT, and NJ) -Twitter: @RobBlount
-Photo Credit: Dowling Motorsports