In less than 48 hours, Chase Dowling’s 2017 racing season became one to remember.
The 19-year-old from Roxbury, Connecticut scored back-to-back wins this past weekend. He did so at two different tracks in two different types of Modifieds while driving for two different car owners, one of which he had never run for before. One of those wins also counted as his first career Tour-type Modified win.
It all started this past Friday night at Stafford Motor Speedway (CT) in the biggest race for the SK Modified division, the 100-lap SK 5K, with over $5,000 on the line. After lasting the race’s majority and showing he could stay out front, Dowling powered on to take his biggest win so far in an SK.
“We were really good, the team did a great job all week preparing the race car and went in with the same setup we’d always go for a 40-lap race and I was just patient and drove to the front,” Dowling told Speed51.com powered by JEGs. “We all had high expectations going into the year, we knew we were going to be pretty good.”
The win Friday is Dowling’s third of 2017 in the Stafford SK Modified division and it puts him second in the SK standings behind veteran driver Keith Rocco.
But the night had one last surprise left, as Modified Touring Series car owner Gary Casella was looking for a driver to put in the No. 25 Tour Modified at Monadnock Speedway (NH) the next day, with regular driver Rowan Pennink competing at Thompson Speedway (CT) in the Sunoco Modified division. After the race Friday night, Casella sought out Dowling.
“About 11:30 Friday night at Stafford in the tech area,” Dowling said of when he secured the ride for Saturday. “We went home, slept, woke up in the morning, scaled the car and they showed up right after it stopped raining in the afternoon. We got tires, put them on the car and went racing. Pretty unbelievable things happen that quick and not many car owners would be willing to do that, so I can’t thank him enough.”
Dowling put the opportunity to good use, grabbing the lead just before halfway and holding off five-time Valenti Modified Racing Series champion Jon McKennedy in the closing laps.
“It’s been one of the top (weekends),” Dowling said. “The SK 5K paid some great money against great drivers. Gary had a great car Saturday night as well. Racing Jon McKennedy is really cool, it’s hard to beat him. We had an A-plus effort all night at Monadnock and it showed.”
The No. 25 team will now be locked into the MTS Quest for the Cup, the series’ championship format, heading into the next race at Stafford on July 21. While Dowling had done the Casella team a great service, he feels Saturday’s win has done an even greater service for his career both long term and short term.
This Friday and Saturday he returns to the seat of Rob Fuller’s No. 15 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his part-time schedule on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. Dowling knows that the team has what it takes to win, and he feels he does too now.
“I think Tour Modified racing is more important, so it was nice to get into the car Saturday and win with it for my first Tour win,” Dowling stated. “Rob Fuller and the whole LFR team is going up to Loudon and we should do pretty well up there too. We’re preparing the race car right now and I know it will be fast.”
-By: Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com CT, MA & Long Island Editor – Twitter: @Connor51CT
-Photo Credit: Speed51.com